In State Tuition Awarded to Children of Illegal Immigrants

By: Whitney Ray Email
By: Whitney Ray Email

Tallahassee, FL - A huge victory for the children of illegal immigrants. A federal court ruled people born in Florida to parents who are illegal should be allowed to pay in state college tuition. The ruling could create a budget problem for state colleges and universities.

Thousands of US Citizens, who were born in the US and graduated from Florida high schools are being denied instate tuition. The reason, their parents are here illegally.

"I was born in Florida. I went to high school in Florida. I want to go to college in Florida."

Renator Lherisson is one of those students. He was born in Miami, but his Father, died while still a citizen of Haiti. Renator had no idea his fathers status would effect how much he pays for college.

"I applied like everybody else expecting that I would be paying instate fees and then they told me I would have to pay three times the amount."
Out-of-State tuition is about 700 dollars a credit hour, compared to 200 from instate students. The higher rates brought Renator and dozens of other students to the state capitol earlier this year to ask lawmaker for help. They didn't get it.

"While the students lost the battle in the state legislature, they won a federal court case. The judge ruled, charging the students more violates the 14th Amendment of the US constitution, which says everybody born in the US is entitled to equal protection under the law."

But that ruling could put a huge dent in education funding, costing the state an estimated 200 million dollars. We asked Governor Rick Scott how he planned to handle the budget problem.

"The Department of Education and the lawyers there are looking at that case. You know, you want to treat everybody fairly."

The State Board of Education met in Orlando Tuesday. The case was on their agenda, but without a written order from the judge discuss of an appeal was postponed.

The state could appeal the decision. If they do, the instate tuition provision could be put on hold. If the state doesn't appeal, Florida universities and colleges may have to rework their budgets next semester. Students who've paid out-of-state tuition, but are legal Florida residents may also be entitled to refunds.

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