Driven by her dream of becoming a doctor, Mariana Castro won a coveted spot in the neurobiological sciences program at the University of Florida.
But one thing still stands in her way.
A native of Peru who came to the United States illegally as a child, Castro doesn't quality for in-state tuition. It doesn't matter that she has lived in Florida since she was 10, or that she has temporary legal standing under a federal program for young immigrants. She must still pay the $28,548 in tuition and fees charged to out-of-state students, more than four times the amount charged to Florida residents.
“If this continues, I will have to consider dropping out,” she said.
Castro is taking her case to Tallahassee. She and other UF students are lobbying for proposals that would extend in-state tuition rates to undocumented students.
While the Republican-dominated Florida Legislature has rejected similar bills for the past decade, there is reason to believe this year might be different: Republican House Speaker Will Weatherford has pledged his support.
“I know this issue brings strong opinions, particularly in my party,” Weatherford told the Herald/Times. “But I think it’s right. It’s got my support.”
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