Prior to 3/5/2008 the newsclips are available in a PDF archive.
News Clips 02/07/2013
Lawmakers consider tuition break for children of illegal immigrants
Source: The Florida Current, 02/06/13
View Original Article
By James Call
Florida lawmakers Wednesday started wrestling with a federal court ruling prohibiting the state from charging out-of-state tuition rates to U.S.-born Florida residents whose parents are illegal immigrants.
Vickie Shirley, general counsel for the Board of Governors, talked about a federal judge’s ruling in September that prohibits Florida from charging the higher rate to citizens whose parents migrated to the U.S. without the proper documents. Florida determines a student’s residency based on a parent’s citizenship.
“The rationale was that the parents don’t receive the benefit of in-state tuition and the parents are not conferred the degree,” Shirley told the House Higher Education and Workforce Subcommittee. “Therefore the parents are not who you (the state) should be looking to. It is the student themselves.”
At least five bills have been filed granting in-state tuition for children of illegal immigrants for the legislative session that begins in March. A change will result in a revenue loss for both the state college and the university system. According to a Senate staff analysis for a 2012 proposal, the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition can be as much as $20,000 a year at a university and more than $8,000 at a state college.
The proposals differ on eligibility requirements for in-state rates. HB 11 by Rep. Reggie Fullwood, D-Jacksonville, directs the Board of Education and Board of Governors to adopt rules granting in-state rates to U.S.-born students of undocumented parents. Rep. Carlos Trujillo, D-Miami, is sponsoring HB 17, which grants in-state rates as long as the student attended a Florida high school for four years and applies to a college or university within 12 months of high school graduation.
Since at least 2006, various lawmakers have filed bills granting the lower rate to such students but the proposals fail to gain any traction. Now, however, the ruling by U.S. Circuit Judge K. Michael Moore forces the Legislature to act.
“If they were born here in the United States, regardless whether their parents were born here or not, that young student is an American citizen and she or he should be treated no differently than any other U.S. citizen,” said Rep. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey. “Now if they are somebody from Arkansas, Georgia or New York they should be charged the higher rate, but if they can show they have lived here in Florida for the past 12 months then they should be treated no differently than any other Florida student.”