In-state tuition for undocumented residents?

Author: Matt Galka, Reporter, Capitol News Service
Published On: Feb 28 2014 04:29:51 PM EST   Updated On: Feb 28 2014 04:43:50 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -

Florida State University sophomore Daniela Donoso was born in Ecuador but moved to Florida when she was 6 months old.  Coming from an undocumented family, she had to apply to Florida schools as an international student, which meant she should may a much higher tuition than other residents of the state.

Donoso was lucky. She got an exemption from FSU and is now part of a student organization rallying to get in-state tuition for all students who are children of undocumented residents of Florida.

“I don’t know how we would have made it if I had to pay out-of- state tuition,” she said. “My parents, that’s why they’re here. To give us those opportunities, to help us pay for college, to help us get a better education.”

At Florida State, the tuition difference is around $6,500 for in state students, but nearly $22,000 for those coming from other states or countries.  Since the price tag could mean the difference in attending college at all, lawmakers are proposing measures that would grant in-state rates to children of immigrants who are not citizens.

Sen. Dwight Bullard has been pushing for the legislation for three years.

“Speaker Weatherford has already taken a position in favor of it,” Bullard said.

Senate President Don Gaetz is not yet convinced.

A new bill filed earlier this week grouped together two in-state tuition measures: one that would allow state rates for children of undocumented parents and one that allows in-state rates for veterans.