Putting Education Reform To The Test

How Will The Florida Board of Education Respond To Immigrant Tuition Ruling?


Florida Immigrant Coalition

The Florida Board of Education will meet in a closed session this evening in Orlando.

They’ll talk about what to do now that a judge has ruled against Florida’s practice of charging out-of-state tuition to students who were born in America but whose parents are undocumented.

Unlike other states, Florida colleges and universities consider the citizenship of a student’s parents.

Five students sued the state, and U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore agreed that the practice is unconstitutional. He granted the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment

The state hasn’t decided whether to appeal. It’s waiting for Moore’s final decision.

In his initial ruling, the judge concluded:

“Defendants’ additional criteria for determining residency for public post-secondary education purposes classifies Plaintiffs in such a way as to deny Plaintiffs the same benefits and important opportunities as similarly situated individuals by virtue of their parents’ undocumented immigration status.

The relationship between Plaintiffs’ residency, their parents’ immigration status, and the State’s interest in providing quality public post-secondary education is far too tenuous to justify the State’s regulations and withstand heightened scrutiny.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which brought the suit on behalf of the plaintiffs, said data from the U.S. Census and the Pew Hispanic Center shows the ruling stands to benefit up to 12,000 students.

The cost to the state could be as high as $200 million a year.

Tonight’s meeting begins at 6 p.m.at Hilton Orlando.

The board will meet tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. at Valencia College with a much longer agenda, including a budget request for $442 million in new technology.

The board will also discuss its 2013 legislative agenda. Items include adding a financial literacy graduation requirement and a school choice bill which could allow charter schools to use empty district facilities.


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