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Wednesday, Sep 17, 2014
Letter of the Day

Eliminate unfair barrier to higher education

Published:

We are writing to express our support for in-state tuition for students typically known as “Dreamers.” These immigrant students, despite being brought to the United States as children through no fault of their own, having grown up exclusively in Florida and having graduated from a Florida high school (many as leaders in their schools), do not qualify for in-state tuition. Instead, they are required to pay additional out-of-state fees that can be four times as high as in-state tuition.

Consequently, many of these students make the financial decision to forgo college altogether, or are only able to afford to enroll in one class at a time, which greatly increases their time to get a degree and thus decreases their likelihood of successful completion.

It is well recognized that many of Florida’s fastest-growing jobs require some post-secondary education. We support providing these students with in-state tuition so they can increase Florida’s ability to satisfy state workforce needs with bright students yearning to maximize their talents and potential and serve Florida as hardworking upwardly mobile employees.

Notably, each of our 28 Florida college presidents (representing approximately 900,000 students), as well as universities such as the University of Florida, the University of South Florida and Florida International University, support this measure.

Extending in-state tuition to immigrant students is a priority for Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford and many members of the Florida Legislature, because this is not a Republican or Democrat issue. Granting Dreamers in-state tuition is what’s best for Florida.

It is our belief that the Legislature must act on this issue so all colleges and universities can consistently share the message that Florida has eliminated this barrier to a higher education. We urge your support of this good measure.

Sen. Jack Latvala, Sen. Jeremy Ring

Broward College President J. David Armstrong Jr.

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