See the document above? Up until recently, this was a text that I was completely unfamiliar. This was mainly due to the fact that up until last year, the was no way for me, or any undocumented immigrant for that matter, to benefit from in-state tuition.
However, now that many of us keep asking ourselves one question - could I get in-state tuition with my Deferred Action approval?
Well, Florida International University seems to think so! Yet, not all Universities or Colleges have been so quickly to open the doors to DACAmented immigrants.
The Sun Sentinel reported over the weekend as to how other institutions of higher education are “looking into” the policies that would allow them to provide said students with the in-state tuition rate.
And there is reason to believe that they are being very cautious with what they announce!
Remember that Governor Rick Scott is no friend of undocumented immigrants. He recently vetoed a bill that, despite being redundant, would have formalized the approval of drivers licenses for DACA beneficiaries is only but a reminder of that. His rationale for the veto read:
"Although the Legislature may have been well intentioned in seeking to expedite the process to obtain a temporary driver license, it should not have been done by relying on a federal government policy adopted without legal basis,”
Under the threat of cuts in funding, or retaliation from the Legislature, I am confident that many University and College administrators are looking deep into what are the implications of providing us, the undocumented immigrant, with in-state tuition.
Yet, there is hope.
The manual above which is used by “ Florida’s public colleges and state universities [to] determining residency for tuition purposes and by authorized independent colleges and universities in determining eligibility for state financial aid programs” states the following:
Non-U.S. citizens who fall within the following categories are also eligible to establish Florida
residency for tuition purposes:
1) Citizens of Micronesia.
2) Citizens of the Marshall Islands.
3) Beneficiaries of the Family Unity Program.
4) Individuals granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS).
5) Individuals granted Withholding of Removal status.
6) Individuals granted Suspension of Deportation status or Cancellation of Removal.
7) Individuals granted a Stay of Deportation or Stay of Removal.
8) Individuals granted Deferred Action Status.
9) Individuals granted Deferred Enforced Departure status.
10) Applicants for Adjustment of Status.
11) Individuals granted asylum.
12) Individuals granted refugee status.
13) Individuals granted parolee status.
14) Individuals defined as Cuban or Haitian entrants under the Refugee Education Assistance Act
Hooray! But act proceed with caution (after you read the entirety of the document). At the end of the day, it falls on the University or College to determine your residency status.
Confused? Yes, many of us are. However, do not be discouraged. Take this information to your college or university and ask them to have a second look. Applying to college? Call financial aide (or pay them a visit, which always proves to be a better route) and ask them about their policies surrounding DACA and in-state tuition.
Need more information? Read the documents that allowed FIU to create its DACA policy. Yes, these too should be handed to your future college or university.
Found a college that provides in-state tuition in Florida? Rumor has it that Miami-Dade and Valencia are. Leave a comment with your findings, or experience.