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Instate Tuition Bill On Its Way To House Floor

TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) - A House bill allowing some undocumented students to pay in-state tuition rates is ready for the House floor.

On Wednesday it was unanimously approved by the House Education Appropriations Subcommittee which was listed as the last stop for the bill.

House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, has pushed the bill and used part of his session-opening speech Tuesday to try to sell any hesitant members on the legislation.

Under the bill, students who are in the country illegally could qualify for in-state tuition rates at Florida colleges and universities if they started going to high school in Florida at least three years before they graduate and apply for college within two years. The students would also have to prove that they reside in Florida.

Students who qualify for in-state tuition rates pay thousands of dollars less each year than students who pay out-of-state rates.

While the measure has gained bipartisan support in the House, Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, has said he is opposed. But Gaetz has also not ruled out bringing the measure to a vote, and Weatherford said he was confident of the proposal's chances.

"I don't expect the Senate president to change his mind, but if the bill does see its way to the floor in the Senate, I have every reason to believe that it would pass," Weatherford said.

The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.


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