CONTACT: Mark Hollis
REACTION TO FEDERAL JUDGE RULING ON TUITION DISCRIMINATION
Florida State Reps. Reggie Fullwood &Hazelle Rogers
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A federal judge in Miami ruled today that Florida students cannot be charged higher non-resident tuition simply because of their parents’ legal status. The flawed policy of denying in-state tuition to certain Floridians because of the immigration status of their parents is also the subject of legislation sponsored this year by state Reps. Reggie Fullwood (D-Jacksonville) and Hazelle Rogers (D-Lauderhill).
House Bill 441 (Resident Status for Tuition Purposes), if it had passed, would have ensured that any dependent child in Florida who is a United States citizen, a lawful permanent resident, or a qualified alien whose parent is not a United States citizen, be eligible for in-state tuition at a Florida college or university. Currently, Florida’s policy forces many legal residents to spend up to three times more on tuition than they would otherwise, which often puts a college education out of their reach.
Today’s ruling by U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore arises from a lawsuit filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Judge Moore said Florida’s existing tuition discrimination violates the Constitution.
Representative Fullwood issued the following statement:
“I hope today’s ruling quickly ends Florida’s ridiculous policy of requiring U.S. citizens to pay expensive out-of-state tuition rates simply because their parents’ legal status,” said Representative Fullwood. “The Republican-controlled Florida Legislature has refused to dismantle this glaring inequity in college admissions policy. The bottom line is simple: a U.S. citizen should be treated like a U.S. citizen regardless of who their parents are. Judge Moore’s ruling will give thousands of students the opportunity to better afford college and provide new opportunities for their futures.”
Representative Rogers issued these remarks:
“I am thrilled by today’s court ruling. Education is the hallmark of the American dream and should be accessible, affordable and available,” said Representative Rogers. “As a Jamaican-American, I know this well. The promise of a better way of life is inextricably tied to higher learning and that’s why so many immigrant families instill the importance of education in their children. Ending Florida’s fundamentally unfair tuition policy is a great triumph for many students, their families and our state.”