Immigration issues have been a hot-button topic at both the state and federal levels across the country. In the last post, this blog began a discussion of issues being considered in Florida this year related to immigration law. The discussion continues, with a look at several measures related to higher education in Florida.
Under current Florida law, college students currently have to provide proof of residency in order to qualify for in-state tuition. A student who is a dependent must also provide proof of his or her parents’ legal residency to qualify. Recently, a class action lawsuit was filed against the state on behalf of several students who are unable to provide proof of their parents’ lawful immigration status.
A bill called Resident Status for Tuition Purposes, which was filed in both chambers of the legislature in January, would reclassify students as residents based upon proof that the student attended a Florida high school for two consecutive years, graduated from the in-state school and enrolls in a Florida institution of higher learning within 12 months of graduation.
A separate measure, known as the Postsecondary Student Fees bill, looks at the tuition issue. The measure makes an exemption available for students who have attended a Florida high school for three years or more and graduate from the school. The bill provides such students an “exemption from payment of nonresident tuition.”
The Postsecondary Student Fees bill extends to students “without lawful immigration status.” The measure would allow such students to file an affidavit with the state college or university system “stating that the student has filed an application to legalize his or her immigration status or will file an application as soon as he or she is eligible to do so.”
Source: Florida Independent, “In Tallahassee, a sizable shift in immigration priorities,” Marcos Restrepo, Jan. 17, 2012