undocumented students

Gina Jordan/WLRN

As colleges and universities begin the fall semester, some undocumented students are paying the same tuition rate as Florida residents.

A handful of schools like Miami Dade College have been doing this for a while, but now the cheaper tuition is being offered statewide.

A law that went into effect July 1st grants in-state tuition to those who meet certain requirements.

FlickR/Gage Skidmore

  Gov. Rick Scott was in Overtown Thursday to highlight millions in the state budget to help children who were victims of human trafficking.

This year’s state budget will spend $6 million to hire more advocates to help children during court cases. Another $3 million will pay for safe houses and rehabilitation for child victims of trafficking.

Scott also used the opportunity to talk about a new law that allows some undocumented immigrants access to in-state college tuition.


In our final installment of Session 2014: The Sunshine Edition, we highlight the big events from this legislative season.

Stand Your Ground reform did not get far, but bills to allow undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition at state colleges and universities and to legalize a form of medical marijuana made it through the Republican-controlled legislature, and Governor Rick Scott says he will sign them. 

WLRN-Miami Herald News' Gina Jordan walks us through hallways of the Capitol in the remaining hours of the session.

Mayra Rubio

Mayra Rubio was 3 months-old when she moved to Homestead with her brother and parents from Guadalajara, Mexico.

After she graduated from South Dade Senior High, she realized she could not afford the out-of-state tuition for public colleges and universities. Undocumented students do not get the opportunity to pay in-state tuition rates.

So instead, Mayra worked with her father in the fields and groves of South Miami-Dade County. She picked and packed avocados and mangos.

Judy Baxter / Flickr/Creative Commons

Homestead resident Mayra Rubio was in the audience during President Obama's 2014 State of the Union address and was hoping to hear about reforms that could change her life. She was an undocumented immigrant, though she is now a recipient of deferred action from U.S. authorities. While the president's speech said little about immigration, the state legislature is poised to pass a bill that will allow state colleges and universities to treat undocumented immigrants similar to in-state students and pay a lower tuition rate.

The Florida Channel

The Florida Senate Judiciary Committee got a big surprise this morning. Turns out in-state university tuition rates are already available for some undocumented immigrants, at least at Florida International University.

It may have strengthened the hands of opponents of the in-state tuition bill, but not enough to defeat it.

Click to hear the full story.


High school senior Diego Ramirez from Florida City told lawmakers he’s in the top 10 percent of his class. He’s lived in Florida four years and is undocumented.

“I’ve always wanted to go to college [and] become a businessman because that’s my dream,” Ramirez said.

Undocumented students in Florida have to pay out-of-state rate for college, which is three times more expensive.

Now, a bill to grant cheaper, in-state college tuition to undocumented students may be in trouble.

Greenspoon Marder/flickr

Florida's undocumented residents may soon have access to cheaper college tuition. The proposal is part of a sweeping bill aimed at reducing the cost of higher education.

Undocumented students could pay in-state tuition if they meet certain eligibility requirements. They’ve been paying the out-of-state rate, which is three times more expensive.

Gina Jordan/StateImpact Florida

Florida’s move toward Common Core standards in schools is sure to be discussed during the upcoming legislative session.

Lawmakers will also consider allowing undocumented college students to pay cheaper, in-state tuition. Plus, state universities that improve their graduation rates may be able to boost their funding.