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Interpretation of Florida Law Could Impact International Students

By: Leonard Horton
By: Leonard Horton

Dr. Jesse Lutabingwa works with international education at Florida A&M University. He recently sent letters to Latin American and Caribbean students telling them only those who receive U.S. federal funding and Florida State-funded scholarships will be classified as Florida residents.

"It is an issue we are addressing head-on. I understand other institutions have not started to address it," says Lutabingwa.

FAMU student Kevin Carty is from Saint Maarten. He's still has two years to go.

"I'm pretty much shocked and worried about where I could go to finish my studies," says Carty.

Last April the Florida Board of Governors adopted a resolution to consider "state" as meaning Florida state government, and "federal" as U.S. federal.

So, for example, a student who received a scholarship from Jamaica would now still have to pay out of state fees. This new rule is affecting not only FAMU students, but students across Florida.

"They are very concerned. A lot of the students are probably going to have to depend on their families, and that is a lot of money to have to shell out at one time for a family who has not planned ahead," says Agnes Coppin, who works with international students at FAMU.

Right now at FAMU 60 students could be affected, and their registration deadline has been extended to Friday the 13th. Meanwhile, Florida State University has opted to let their students keep their in-state status.


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