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Florida governor extends in-state tuition to undocumented students

 
 

TALLAHASSEEFlorida, June 9 (Reuters) - Florida Governor Rick Scott, who promised a crackdown on illegal immigration four years ago, signed legislation Monday allowing children whose parents came to the United States illegally to pay in-state tuition at Florida colleges.

Earlier efforts to extend in-state tuition rates to undocumented students at public colleges and universities had failed, with opposition from leading Republicans. It passed this spring as party leaders try to appeal to Hispanic voters in an election year.

Scott, a Republican seeking re-election who previously opposed the measure, skirted the issue of illegal immigration in a news release that focused instead on tuition costs.

"Signing this historic legislation today will keep tuition low, and allow all students who grew up in Florida to have the same access to affordable higher education," he said.

The new law applies to undocumented students who attended a Florida school for at least three years. In-state tuition is about one-fourth the rate charged for non-Floridians.

Currently, 17 other states have provisions allowing for in-state tuition rates for undocumented students, according to an analysis by the Florida House of Representatives.

Scott timed his approval of the bill to coincide with the start of a weeklong "college affordability" tour of major Florida cities, as he seeks to emphasize his differences with his main rival in November, Charlie Crist.

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