Senate Committee of Higher Education votes against in-state tuition for second generation immigrants

Today, the Florida Senate committee on Higher Education, led by Senator Oelrich, voted against passing SB 1018, a bill that would guarantee in-state tuition eligibility for U.S. born citizens and legal permanent residents regardless of the immigration status of their parents.

As part of an existing flaw in the legislature, when students register for higher education under financial dependence to their parents, they are required to submit tax and residency documentation for their parents in order to qualify for the in-state tuition rate. This has created a problem for thousands of students who are U.S. born citizens or legal permanent residents, who were raised in the sunshine state and graduated from one of our high schools.

In the Senate Higher Education Committee we clearly heard some legislators setting a second class standard for Florida’s youth only because of the immigration struggles of their parents.

As Floridians, we believe that equal access to education is not only a human right but also paramount to the prosperity of our state. This decision is closing the door to thousands of Florida residents that are willing to become skilled professionals and contribute to our economy.

The course of action taken by the Senate committee on Higher Education poses an alarming question about whether our Florida legislature is veering towards denying basic human rights and equal treatment to US Citizens just because they are second generation immigrants.

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  1. Ivonne Navarro says:

    I find it ridiculous that I as a student and a citizen had to face the risk of not being able to go to college despite my high achievements. Two years ago, I faced this problem when attempting to apply to the University of Florida and could not complete the in-state tuition residency requirements. Moreover, regardless of my gaining the highest award of Florida Bright Futures scholarship, universities in Florida would have still classified me as an out-of-state tuition. My father makes about $13,000 per year and I laugh bitterly at the politicians that believe that it is feasible for my father and I to pay the out-of-state tuition. Thankful I found haven in the University of Virginia on a full scholarship. All I wish to say to the politicians is that regardless of the barriers that you create for us, we will find a way to prosper because we do have ambition beyond our years. The young talented minds that must leave Florida is a disgrace, but it is worse that we are condemned by the narrow mindless of our legislators.

  2. Darren Covar says:

    This is appalling. I was hoping Sen. Rene Garcia’s bill allowing everyone to obtain a license would pass but after this, it doesn’t look good.

    • FLIC Communications Team says:

      Thanks for commenting Darren. Unfortunately it was Sen. García’s bill the one that died yesterday (SB 1018) and it only offered in-state tuition to US Citizens and legal permanent residents who have undocumented parents. 3 senators voted against it arguing they didn’t want to reward the students parents, totally denying the basic right to affordable education to US citizens. There are still 2 bills (HB 81 and SB 106) that propose in-state tuition for ALL students, regardless of their immigration status or that of their parents. We need to advocate for those bills now.

  3. Daniel Filho says:

    My name is Daniel Filho. I am a bi-lingual Brazilian business owner who is very committed to helping the immigrant cause. It’s the blend of immigrants that energizes this economy and has made this country what it is today.

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