One Florida university is making efforts to address the needs of a large demographic of its students by allowing those that came to the country without documentation as children to attend school at the resident rate.
While being granted deferred status does not necessarily offer a path to citizenship under the Obama administration’s “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” plan, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security now recognizes that it allows qualifying immigrants to legally be in the country for two years. In Florida alone, more than 20,000 immigrants are currently seeking deferred status and around 9,000 are living in the state under the program.
Some opponents of the childhood arrival immigrant plan argue that it only affects issues regarding deportation, and doesn’t guarantee any legal rights and/or privileges to immigrants. Though, more than 10 states offer resident tuition fees to qualifying immigrant students.
Following in the footsteps of these states, Florida International University will now allow students with deferred status to pay in-state tuition rates. By using discretionary funds to offset the cost, the university will cover a significant amount of tuition costs through waivers. The number of students requesting fee waivers has almost tripled in only a short amount of time.
Other state colleges and universities are expected to consider taking similar measures. Though, the state college system follows different governing procedures, which may delay the process. Opposing views must also be considered, as many feel that offering fee waivers to students with deferred legal status isn’t fair to out-of-state students with legal citizenship.
Politics aside, FIU’s efforts will likely result in giving many students an opportunity they wouldn’t otherwise have.
Source: Sun Sentinel, “FIU first to offer in-state tuition to immigrant children,” Scott Travis, June 9, 2013