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House amends immigrant tuition bill in advance of floor vote

A bill that would extend in-state tuition rates to undocumented students (HB 851) is up for a vote in the Florida House on Thursday.

But the bill looks different now, after lawmakers approved substantial changes late Wednesday.

The amendement, proposed by Rep. Jeanette Nuñez, of Miami, was intended to make the House version of the proposal more like the Senate version.

Since the amendment was approved, the bill no longer allows undocumented students to be classified as "residents for tuition purposes." Instead, undocumented students would be able to receive partial tuition waivers that would enable them to pay the same rates as Florida residents.

The adjustment was important to members of the Senate, who wanted to ensure that undocumented students would not be eligible for state-funded scholarships and other benefits outside of the education system.

Nuñez's amendment also makes it clear that undocumented students would be counted as out-of-state students. She said the provision would prevent undocumented students from displacing Florida residents. (Florida universities are required to have a certain balance of in-state students to out-of-state students.)

But a third provision in the amendment infuriated some Democrats: language requiring students to complete four consecutive years of secondary schooling in Florida.

The original version of the bill only called for three years.

During a brief debate, some democrats said the four-year rule was too limiting and might discourage some accelerated students from graduating from high school in three years. Others questioned why students who earned GEDs would not be eligible for in-state tuition. 

"The amendment weakens the overall bill," said Rep. Mark Pafford, a West Palm Beach Democrat. "We’re walking back from the original bill that was filed. That would have been very, very beneficial to so many people out there who really just want an education. I think for a 12-month difference, it’s really pathetic."

Nuñez insisted the amendment would not water down the proposal.

"This has been a bill a long time in the making," she said. "For people to say this is pathetic and that we are not going to help a vast majority of students is very sad."

Comments

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Fred Freeman

Higher education is NOT a Right for anyone. At 18, those illegals can get on line to become citizens and that's what has to happen.

No to illegals and their parents being rewarded for breaking the law.

What is wrong with Florida's Legislature? Have they no knowledge of the rule of law? Education for illegals in Florida is costing taxpayers nearly $7,000 a year per student K-12 !! Yikes!! That is outrageous for a communist K-12 indoctrination program. It's all about the money and nothing about truth and education.

University is all about political policy , not math , not truth in science , POLITICS and Grant Money.

Congress is giving worker visa programs to aliens with good Math and Science skills because the students here aren't good enough. That's disgusting, but Congress thinks it's good for America. I read that on Bill Nelsons website. Check out the immigration policy.

It's all about killing America. Making America a socialist global community run by Central control of the federal government. Just like Hitler had, oops, don't tell the American people, the game is on and they can't be interrupted long enough to do anything about it.

Neil Rice

Higher Education, how can that be in Florida? Not with an Agenda 21 Governor and Cabinet, and a House and Senate that is all organized Greed.
I'm sick of paying for Illegals and their mistakes. American kids first, and send the Illegals back where they came from.
Keep in mind Florida leads in corruption, the GOP elected Andy Gardiner Senate Pres., and Steve Cruisafulli House Speaker, both advocates for "Regionalism" (and Regionalism is communism), we will never see another good bill come our way again.
The only thing that comes out of Tallahassee is Lies, and Treason. But then they take an Oath to protect and defend the Government, that sounds like Communism. And they even broke that and thats perjury.
The state of Florida stands for organized greed, as I explain on talk shows.
I ask people, why would you want to move to Florida, we have no property rights, liberty,comprehensive plans in every county, getting rid of the automobile. Pure Communism.
Now we have to pay for people who have broken the law.
What a POS.
Neil Rice, Taylor County Fl., under United Natins Control.
So think long and hard before you move here, or you will end up fighting the corrupt system everyday like me. That is if you believe in freedom.

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