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Immigration status affects tuition rate in Florida

Some students at the University of Central Florida have immigrant status, but the type of status the student has makes a difference in whether they pay in-state or out-of-state tuition. The difference in the tuition price for in-state students is about $10,000 less than out-of-state students.

Some foreigners come to the U.S. as entrepreneurs to open a business or invest and, for this purpose, they may obtain an E-2 visa that permits them to live in the U.S. on a temporary basis. When the investment ends, they return to their country of origin. There is no limit on the amount of time the individuals may stay, and it could be measured in years. Their ability to work is not extended to their dependents. In Florida, after dependents become 21, if they are attending school they are no longer able to qualify for in-state tuition at UCF under their parents' E-2 status and must switch to F-1, also known as a student visa. Under the new visa, the individual now has legal status, but they have to pay out-of-state tuition if they want to study at UCF or other state colleges and universities.

Recently, the governor of Florida signed a bill that allows children of illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition for college if they went to high school in Florida for at least three years. They may be subject to sudden deportation unlike those with an F-1 student visa. Florida also participates in a program that allows Canadian and Eastern Europeans to attend schools under the state's university system at in-state tuition prices.

As in this case, individuals with E-2 visas may consult an attorney to see if they can obtain citizenship for their family. This may make it possible for their children to attend college and pay less in tuition.

Source: Orlando Sentinel, 'Gov. Rick Scott approves in-state tuition for children of illegal immigrants," 2014 http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2014-06-09/news/os-scott-signs-in-state-tuition-20140609_1_in-state-tuition-illegal-immigrants-central-florida

Source: Bradenton Herald, "East Manatee students, Florida residents for 10 years on parents' visa, can't qualify for full in-state tuition", Sabrina Rocco, June 29, 2014

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