New Florida Law Allows Undocumented Immigrants to Attend College at In-State Tuition Rates

New Florida Law Allows Undocumented Immigrants to Attend College at In-State Tuition Rates

On June 9, 2014, Governor Rick Scott of Florida signed a bill that will allow students who went to high school in Florida for at least three years to pay in-state tuition rates regardless of their immigration status. The bill also limits tuition increases at state universities, lowers the cost of Florida Prepaid college savings plans, and relaxes the residency requirements for veterans to receive in-state tuition. An estimated 5,000 undocumented students graduate from Florida high schools every year, according to the Florida Immigrant Coalition.

“Signing this historic legislation today will keep tuition low, and allow all students who grew up in Florida to have the same access to affordable higher education,” Governor Scott said in a statement. “With this legislation, higher education became more affordable and accessible to all Floridians.”

Undocumented Student Tuition Background

In the 1982 Plyler v. Doe US Supreme Court decision, it was found that states are required to provide all students, regardless of immigration status, with K-12 public education. According to a statement from the decision, it was determined that a “public education has a pivotal role in maintaining the fabric of our society and in sustaining our political and cultural heritage; the deprivation of education takes an inestimable toll on the social, economic, intellectual, and psychological well-being of the individual, and poses an obstacle achievement.”*

*National Conference of State Legislatures

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