Education, Immigrant Groups To Debate Tuition Bill

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News Release: Associated Press News
Updated: March 31, 2014, 9:45am

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) -- College officials and immigrant advocates are pushing for state legislation that would let undocumented students in Florida pay in-state college tuition rates.

University administrators, students and lawmakers will discuss several tuition proposals Thursday at a Broward College forum. The event is sponsored by civic groups and the Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

The state House passed a bill this month that would grant a tuition waiver to high school graduates who attended a Florida school for four consecutive years regardless of their immigration status.

Supporters say it is wrong to deny help to those who were brought to Florida when they were children.

The legislation faces opposition in the state Senate. Some Republicans say Florida should not give a benefit to someone whose family broke the law.

News Release: Florida House
Updated: March 20, 2014, 7:38pm


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Qualified Florida students would pay in-state college tuition rates even if they are in the country illegally under a bill passed by the Florida House.

The bill was passed by an 81-33 margin.

Some Republicans voted no on the bill even though it was supported by House Speaker Will Weatherford. They have argued previously it was wrong to give a benefit to someone whose family broke the law.

The measure (HB 851) would offer a tuition waiver to high school graduates who attended a Florida school for four consecutive years.

But it's unclear if the legislation will pass the Florida Senate.

Gov. Rick Scott backs a Senate bill that includes the tuition break because it would place limits on how much universities could raise tuition rates.

News Release: Florida House
Updated: March 20, 2014, 7:30pm

Tallahassee, FL – The Florida House of Representatives today passed CS/CS/CS/HB 851 for Postsecondary Education Tuition and Fees, a bill sponsored by Representative Jeanette Nuñez (R-Miami). The bill provides graduating students who have completed four years in a Florida high school the opportunity to receive in-state tuition rates at a Florida postsecondary institution.

“Today, the Florida House took a historic step toward putting a college degree within reach for a certain group of Florida students,” said House Speaker Will Weatherford (R-Wesley Chapel). “The State of Florida invests thousands of taxpayer dollars to educate children who are here through no fault of their own. The time has come to stop penalizing them for the mistakes of their parents.”

“I believe that education is the most important opportunity the State government can offer its residents, and I am glad that it has been at the forefront of this legislative session,” said Representative Nuñez. “This bill is an important step that introduces fairness and pragmatism to our state college and university system. I am proud that even though there may be an immigration gridlock in Washington, Florida is leading the country in offering opportunities for all students.”

CS/CS/CS/HB 851 exempts from the payment of out-of-state fees: students who attend a Florida high school for four consecutive years and enroll in a postsecondary institution within 24 months after graduation, provided they submit their high school transcript as documentary evidence of attendance and graduation. The bill also extends the tuition and fee waivers for Purple Heart recipients to those who enroll in workforce education programs at Florida career centers.

For more information about CS/CS/CS/HB 851, please visit the Florida House of Representatives online.

News Release: Florida Students for a Democratic Society

Tallahassee, Florida - Thursday, March 20th, Florida Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and other allied organizations are holding a press conference on the steps of the Florida Capitol to encourage Florida representatives to pass HB851 and SB1400. These bills would charge qualified undocumented students in-state tuition as opposed to out-of-state tuition
Students for a Democratic Society, along with UF Administration and other activist and immigrant advocacy groups, will be speaking out against the injustice of forcing undocumented students to pay as much as four times the rate of citizens for higher education. We will be educating state representatives about how the passage of these bills will benefit and strengthen our community.

The press conference will consist of speeches from representatives of the FSU, USF and UF SDS chapters, speakers from immigrants rights organizations, a member of the UF Administration, and Florida state representatives. They will push the message of why these students have a right to higher education. This issue has gained bipartisan backing, with statements of support coming from Governor Rick Scott, Speaker of the House Will Weatherford, and several state senators and representatives such as Senator Dwight Bullard (D) and Representative Keith Perry (R), as well as UF President Bernie Machen. The House
Appropriations Committee has recently passed the bill and it awaits a vote on the floor.

Who: Students for a Democratic Society and other allied groups
What: Press conference advocating passage of HB851 and SB1400 for Tuition Equity
When: Thursday, March 20th at 12:30pm.
Where: Steps of the Florida State Capitol, Tallahassee, Florida.

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