TALLAHASSEE, Fla A two month battle over whether or not colleges and universities should grant in-state tuition to undocumented students is down to its final week. The supporters believe they’ve found a way to make it happen.
This is DREAM university. A group of undocumented students started their “school” at the Capitol in support of stalled legislation that would grant in-state tuition to college kids here illegally. Veronica Perez has been studying for her college finals on the Capitols fourth floor.
“We still want to continue our studies so we started this DREAM university so we’ve been teaching classes every day to show them we still want to work here.”
Undocumented students from around the state of Florida say they’ll be here every day until session ends to try and convince lawmakers to reconsider the bill. “We’re putting pressure on it. Right now we have around 30 people, more people are going to join us today as well as tomorrow.”
A new proposal could bring the measure back to life. A pending amendment would grant in-state tuition to kids who were born in the U.S. but had parents living here illegally. Students who themselves are illegal would compete for out of state tuition waivers.
Senate sponsor Jack Latvala met with the dreamers to thank them for their support. He firmly believes this last effort makes it through the chamber. “I think we got the votes, I feel like we’re going to be successful.”
The amendment also prevents every university except for Florida State and the University of Florida from raising tuition without lawmakers approval. FSU and UF would still be allowed to raise tuition by up to 6 percent a year. The Governor has gone to bat for the legislation and has said reducing tuition is a top priority.
The Senate is expected to hear the amendment in the next two days. Time is not on the Dreamers side, session ends Friday.