State Rep. Reggie Fullwood, D-Jacksonville (Pic by Meredith Geddings, via myfloridahouse.gov)

Under Florida statutes, a student who wishes to qualify for in-state tuition fees for higher education has to provide proof of residency, and if the student is a dependent also must provide proof of his or her parents’ legal residency. State Rep. Reggie Fullwood D-Jacksonville, “filed legislation [Friday] to stop the practice of forcing legal residents from paying expensive out-of-state tuition at Florida’s colleges and universities.”

Fullwood’s bill adds that a “dependent child who is a United States citizen, a lawful permanent resident, or a qualified legal alien whose parent is not a United States citizen, a lawful permanent resident, or a qualified legal alien and who attends a Florida high school for 4 consecutive years, enrolls in an institution of higher education within 12 months after graduating from a Florida high school, and submits to the institution of higher education his or her high school transcript prior to initial enrollment in the institution” should be classified as a resident for tuition purposes.

The release adds that the bill “allows United States citizens to qualify for less expensive, in-state college tuition rates if they are four-year students and graduates of Florida high schools.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center filed a federal class action lawsuit last week “on behalf of several aspiring college students who are denied in-state college tuition rates in Florida because they cannot prove the lawful immigration status of their parents.”

The Law Center adds:

The state of Florida denied in-state college tuition rates to U.S. citizens living in the state but unable to prove the lawful immigration status of their parents – an unconstitutional policy that more than tripled the cost of tuition. The SPLC filed a federal lawsuit to end the practice.

The lawsuit charged that these policies of the Florida State Board of Education and the Florida Board of Governors are unconstitutional because they discriminate against U.S. citizen children due to the immigration status of their parents.

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