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A quest to bar aid to foreign students begins again

Rep. Dick Kravitz, a Jacksonville Republican, is nothing but persistent. In his final session, Kravitz is trying once again to get the Florida Legislature to pass his bill that would bar state universities or community colleges from using any state money or money from tuition or fees to provide financial assistance to any foreign student enrolled at the school.

Kravitz got his bill through the Schools and Learning Council on Tuesday morning, but this marks the sixth time that the lawmaker has pushed the legislation. It began with a bill that would have prevented the state from aiding students who were from any country listed on the U.S. Department of State's list of state-sponsored terrorism. But then Kravitz widened it to apply to any student who is attending a Florida college or university on a student visa.

Under Kravitz's bill, HB 475, money now spent aiding foreign students would instead be spent on need-based financial aid for Florida residents. According to the House bill analysis, this would free up $9.4 million for Florida residents this year.

"This is the year to really do the bill because of the financial situation,'' said Kravitz. "This is going to get a lot of our kids money."