Florida is on track to become the 20th US state to offer students who are in the country illegally the same in-state college tuition rates as citizens. The state Senate yesterday voted 26-13 in favor of a bill that would save undocumented youth the burden of paying out-of-state fees—typically three to four times the cost of in-state tuition. "It's an exciting day for every student that dreams of a college education," said Gov. Rick Scott; the bill was "an election year hurdle" for him as he tries to woo Latino voters in his re-election race against former Gov. Charlie Crist, the Los Angeles Times reports. He called the move "historic," but plenty are less pleased with a bill they say will displace Americans and aid unlawful behavior, per the Wall Street Journal.
"We are giving so many benefits to noncitizens," Sen. Aaron Bean argued, per the AP, which notes the fully implemented bill could cost the state nearly $50 million. "Does it matter even being an American citizen anymore?" The bill is expected to make its final pass through the House today before hitting the governor's desk. Once signed into law, it will get rid of the current rule requiring students to provide proof of their parents' legal residency. Instead, students would need to attend a Florida high school for three years, prove they graduated, and enroll in college within two years to be eligible.