In-State Tuition For Undocumented Immigrants Heads To House Floor, But Outcome Uncertain

Mar 5, 2014

The children of undocumented immigrants could soon be eligible for the in-state tuition rate at Florida’s public colleges and universities. A House bill allowing the change is heading to the chamber floor, signaling a change of heart by Republicans who have opposed the measure in years past.

House Speaker Will Weatherford insists the in-state tuition bill is not an election year ploy, even though the Hispanic population is the fastest growing minority group in the nation and in Florida, and a key demographic group Republicans are pushing to win over in future elections:

“It’s not a metamorphosis, it’s a realization there are a lot of kids that aren’t being given an opportunity," Weatherford told reporters shortly after his opening day speech. "And we’re spending tens of thousands of dollars investing in them in our K-12 system and we’re forgetting about them after that. And I just feel—and there are some in my party who disagree—but I feel that personally, we shouldn’t be holding kids responsible for the mistakes of their parents.” 

The House Education Appropriations Subcommittee unanimously approved the legislation Wednesday, sending it to a full vote before the House. Students in the country illegally who are Florida residents could qualify for in-state tuition if they start going to high school in Florida at least three years before they graduate and apply for college no later than two years after graduating. Senate President Don Gaetz has said he opposes the bill, but won’t block a vote on the Senate floor.

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