A judge in federal court ruled that students in Florida attending public universities and colleges should not have to pay the higher “out-of-state” tuition just because their parents, also residing in Florida, cannot prove they are legally in the country.
Judge K. Michael Moore from U.S. District Court said the state’s policy that categorizes American citizens as out of state because of the immigration status of their parents violates the 14th Amendment guaranteeing equal protection of the law.
Moore also said that barring the students from receiving the in-state tuition rate because of the immigration status of their parents does not advance any state interest , much less the more important interest of the state of furthering opportunities in education for Florida residents.
The legal case illustrates the challenges in education that children born in the U.S. to undocumented immigrant parents, face as local and state jurisdictions start new laws seeking to address the problem of illegal immigration.
Parents who are illegal immigrants continue settling and sending their kids to both private public universities and college. They sometimes look for Pell Grants, which are state-funded to assist in paying tuition, federally guaranteed student loans and in-state tuition. Undocumented students do not qualify to receive any financial aid or other assistance for the state, but those born inside the U.S. usually do.
A study in 2011 examined the development socially of children and found that the approximately 4.4 million children born in the U.S. to illegal immigrants face multiple barriers even prior to reaching college age.