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Class action lawsuit filed on behalf of Florida students

Throughout Miami, and the state of Florida, recent high school graduates look forward to furthering their educations by going to college. Though many of these Florida-born individuals are armed with their high school diploma, state driver's license and voter's registration card, they are being told that if they want to attend college they will have pay the much higher out-of-state tuition rate. The reason being cited is that one or both of their parents are illegal immigrants or not in the U.S. legally.

This policy has reportedly been followed by public universities and colleges throughout Florida for the past several years. It pertains specifically to students under the age of 24 whose parents claim them as dependents on their tax returns. The practice results in promising youths either putting off of foregoing college completely to work, or paying more than three times the amount than is paid by other students living in Florida whose parents were born in the U.S.

Earlier this week a class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of five such students by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The lawsuit that was filed against Florida education officials alleges the practice violates the Constitution and is discriminatory. It is apparently the first lawsuit filed pertaining to the policy in Florida. Other states such as California and Colorado have already addressed the issue. In both cases students who were deemed to be legal residents of the state were provided in-state tuition regardless of their parents' immigration status.

There is certainly more to come on this issue. We will monitor the situation and provide updates as they become available.

Source: The Miami Herald, "Lawsuit: Fla. students charged as non-residents," Christine Armario, Oct. 19, 2011

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