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Florida Bills Target Undocumented Student Tuition – Miami, Florida

Miami, Florida 2021-02-22 11:24:00 –

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Two duel bills in the Florida House of Representatives target undocumented immigrant students and their ability to afford college education — One can make college tuition more affordable for non-citizen students, while the other can make higher education exorbitantly expensive.

House building 923 Submitted on February 10 by Democrat Marie Paule Woodson, a district that includes part of Broward County. Woodson’s bill amends Florida legislation to target undocumented students attending Florida high schools with state financial assistance at state universities.

Currently, under 2014 law, undocumented students attending Florida high school for the third consecutive year before graduation are eligible for an out-of-state tuition exemption. This means you can pay the same tuition as a Florida resident. Out-of-state tuition at public schools in Florida It can be three or four times the fee paid by state residents.

But the law is Florida Law 1009.26, Excludes undocumented students from receiving state assistance to qualify residents.For example, undocumented students cannot apply Florida Bright FuturesA popular merit-based scholarship funded by the state lottery system.

House Bill 923 aims to remove that exclusion and give immigrant students the opportunity to apply for state scholarships.

Woodson’s bill could strengthen Florida’s economy by giving all students living and working here the same opportunity to advance their education, said Florida director of immigration advocacy group FWD.us. One Ted Hutchinson says.

“We’re talking about students living here, and we’re already investing in them,” says Hutchinson. “This is leveling the competition for our neighbors and friends who are Americans, for all intents and purposes.”

New Times Could not contact Woodson for comment.

Florida legislators are also considering a bill sponsored by Republican legislator Randy Fine to abolish the section of Decree 1009.26 that benefits undocumented students.his House building 6037, Submitted in January of this year, explicitly requires payment of out-of-state tuition and invalidates Woodson’s bill.

“I don’t think it will pass [Statute 1009.26] It was a good idea. ” New Times.

Fine is a “foreign student” (rather than a reduction in services to “legitimate Florida residents” as the state seeks to reduce costs to offset the economic sacrifice of COVID-19. He says he wants to abolish the grant to Florida’s undocumented students). .. “

In Fine’s view, tuition fees within the state are lower than actual student education costs, so the state subsidizes out-of-state tuition exemptions for undocumented students.

Out-of-state tuition exemptions for non-Florida residents were $ 22,320,620 for the 2019-20 academic year, according to data from the Florida Governor’s Commission, which manages the state university system. Almost all of them ($ 19,159,263) were exempt for non-US residents.

Hutchinson, an advocate of immigration promotion at FWD.us, argues that tuition exemptions are not a state expense, as the tuition paid by students is an income that the university cannot otherwise obtain.

“People try to assemble this as a free giveaway, but they don’t receive free tuition. If students don’t attend, the school doesn’t receive money either way,” Hutchinson points out. Masu..

With seniors at Florida International University (FIU) without an out-of-state exemption Postponement of arrival in childhood (DACA) Recipient Ivan Vazquez says he can’t afford a college. Vazquez came to the United States from Mexico at the age of 13 and attended the first two years of college in Central Florida, where he worked as a chef and paid tuition.

“With out-of-state tuition, you can’t even dream of going to college. It’s so harmful that I can’t afford it,” he says.

Vazquez pays for education at the FIU with The Dream.US Scholarship for financially deprived DACA recipients. One of the scholarship requirements This means that students are eligible to receive state tuition at the school of their choice. Without an out-of-state exemption, Florida’s The Dream.US scholarship students may not be eligible for the scholarship.

Asked about possible paths for DACA recipients, Fine suggested returning to his country of origin to finish his education.

“The children feel terrible about the position their parents put them in, but the state didn’t put them in that position,” says Fine. “They can probably get state tuition at their hometown.”

Fine also argues that because of their legal status, these students “are not Americans and their interests should go to’legal’Floridians.”

For undocumented students like Jensy Matute Guifarro, who recently graduated from the FIU, Fine’s claims are based on false information and hurt people like her who live in the middle of their national identity.

“We came here for a reason. If our parents wanted us to have a school education in our home country, we weren’t here,” says Matute.

22-year-old Matute came to Florida from Honduras at the age of two. She is a DACA recipient who has just gone to a school in the United States and says she does not know how to adapt to a school in Honduras.

“It’s sad because you’re in this hellish state where you weren’t born here, but weren’t raised there. You can’t claim any of them,” she says.

Fine’s bill is in higher education education & Lifelong Learning Subcommittee. Woodson’s bill awaits the appointment of a committee.

Throughout the United States, Florida is one of the countries with the highest percentage of undocumented immigrant students in higher education. Of the estimated 454,000 undocumented students in higher education across the country, 15% live in Florida, accounting for about 3% of the state’s higher education student population. According to the Florida College Access Network..

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Florida Bills Target Undocumented Student Tuition
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