Lawmakers To Address In-State Tuition For Undocumented Students In 2014

By: Andy Alcock, Florida Senate Email
By: Andy Alcock, Florida Senate Email

Updated By: Andy Alcock

A push by some Florida lawmakers could allow some undocumented students to pay in-state tuition.

There's a proposal in the General Assembly to make it happen.

About 20 University of Florida students stood in support of the measure.

Similar proposals failed the last two years.

Senator Dwight Bullard (D-39), says in this election year, his Republican colleagues need to pass this bill.

"These are all the things that if you want to win elections as a party that you're going to have to start doing," said Sen. Bullard. So I'm really giving my colleagues an opportunity to do the right thing."

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Senator Joe Negron (R-28) says he hasn't yet seen the bill for this session. The Republican said he voted against similar bills the last two sessions.

News Release: Florida Senate

TALLAHASSEE— State Senator Dwight Bullard (D-39) and State Representative Victor Torres, Jr. (D-48) will hold a press conference today to talk about bills they are sponsoring which would allow undocumented students who meet certain requirements the opportunity to receive in-state tuition.

“Today education is such a necessity in our global marketplace,” said Senator Bullard. “The fact that we would charge our students more for the same education is absolutely absurd.”

Currently, at institutions across the state undocumented students can pay anywhere between two to four times the amount for in-state tuition than other students. Nationwide, over 15 states have passed bills allowing for in-state tuition, including most recently the state of New Jersey.

“In-state tuition for students who reside in the State of Florida and are undocumented through no fault of their own is an issue of economics, community and fairness,” Representative Torres said. “If we have a generation of educated, talented, and prosperous residents, our communities will benefit, our economy will be stronger and we will continue to see Florida reach its promise of being a leader on some of this nation’s most pressing issues.”

This current bill allows individuals to receive in-state tuition if a student: attended a high school in this state for at least 3 consecutive or nonconsecutive school years, graduated from a high school in Florida or received an equivalency diploma, and has registered as an entering student or is currently enrolled at a Florida college or university. The bill would also ensure that if a student is undocumented, he or she files an affidavit with their university stating that he or she has filed an application to legalize his or her status or will file an application as soon as he or she is eligible to do so.

“I’m hoping my colleagues can come to a reasonable understanding on what we can do to move forward,” Senator Bullard stated. “The repercussions on our students’ ability to be competitive in the global marketplace with double or triple amounts of debt is simply too much to ignore.”

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