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Students decry demise of Florida bill to give illegal immigrants' kids in-state tuition

His home ravaged by earthquake, 16-year-old Renato Lherisson returned to his birthplace, the United States, to finish high school and earn a college degree. The Haitian student envisioned studying political science all the way to the doctoral level and maybe joining the United Nations one day. But now he's just hoping to afford one class this semester.

Lherisson is one of many students — the number is impossible to pin down — who have to pay out-of-state tuition even though they are U.S. citizens and Florida residents. It's because they are dependent on their parents, who are not citizens. And in Florida, it's the parent's residency that counts.

A bill that would have extended in-state tuition to those students, if they lived in Florida for at least two years, was voted down Tuesday in a Senate Higher Education Committee meeting.

Now Lherisson, a Miami Dade College student who is supposed to pay his tuition bill in a couple weeks, has to figure out which classes to drop. His mother still lives in Haiti, scraping together wages from her restaurant job to help him with rent. Read more here.

--Kim Wilmath and Mary Ellen Klas

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