Florida Gov. Rick Scott has signed legislation making people without legal status in the U.S. eligible to qualify for in-state college tuition.
“Making sure all Floridians have access to an affordable higher education is one of my top priorities,” the Republican governor said in a prepared statement after signing House Bill 851 Monday.
Florida has joined 19 other states that have laws or policies allowing people who meet certain criteria to pay in-state tuition rates, regardless of their legal status. In Georgia, a Fulton County Superior Court judge is expected to rule soon on a lawsuit seeking in-state college tuition for immigrants who were illegally brought to the U.S. as children.
At issue is a federal program that has granted the 39 plaintiffs in the lawsuit a temporary reprieve from deportation. The federal government says people granted that benefit are legally present in the U.S. Georgia’s in-state tuition policy requires “lawful presence.”
But state attorneys have filed papers seeking to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing the government’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program doesn’t affect Georgia’s tuition policies or give the plaintiffs any rights to in-state tuition.