The Republican-controlled Florida legislature has passed HB 851, a bill allowing qualified undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition rates at public colleges and universities. After voting against similar bills in previous years, the Florida Senate approved the legislation on Thursday. The state House had already passed the bill in March but voted again to pass the amended version from the Senate. Now the measure heads to Gov. Rick Scott’s (R) desk, who endorsed offering in-state tuition rates to undocumented students who graduate from Florida high schools. “This is a historic day. Children who grow up in this state now get the same tuition as their peers,” Scott said after the state Senate voted for HB 851.
If Scott signs the in-state tuition bill, Florida will be the 20th to have some form of tuition equity at their public colleges and universities for immigrant students who are undocumented. Earlier this week, Virginia‘s attorney general announced that students who have temporary legal status through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program can qualify for in-state tuition.