Judge: Florida Cannot Charge Students Non-Resident Tuition Due To Parents

Ann McClure's picture

Students at Florida's public colleges and universities cannot be charged higher out-of-state tuition simply because their parents are in the U.S. illegally, a federal judge ruled.

U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore determined the policy violates the equal protection clause of the Constitution by forcing those students to unfairly pay three times as much as Florida residents. Children born in this country are citizens whether or not their parents have legal immigration status.

"The state regulations deny a benefit and create unique obstacles to attain public post-secondary public education for U.S. citizen children who would otherwise qualify for in-state tuition," Moore wrote.

The ruling Friday came in a lawsuit filed by the Montgomery, Ala.-based Southern Poverty Law Center on behalf of several Florida students who were denied in-state tuition because they could not prove their parents are in this country legally. The center's deputy legal director, Jerri Katzerman, said Tuesday that Moore's ruling could give thousands of students greater access to an education.

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