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UNF students lead in-state tuition fight for students who came to US illegally

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Updated: 2/20 12:21 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- University of North Florida students are leading the fight to help get in-state tuition for students who entered the country illegally as children. The proposal is being discussed in Tallahassee this legislative session.

If they are successful, the proposal would help people like 26-year-old Javier Ricaldi. He moved to Jacksonville from Bolivia as a child, but after graduating from high school, he quickly learned going to college wasn't going to be easy.

"It's too much; I'm trying to save up some money. That's where I'm at right now," said Ricaldi.

Never mind that Ricaldi has temporary legal status under a federal program, known as -Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or that he's lived in Duval County for more than a decade. He does not qualify for in-state tuition.

UNF student government president Carlo Fassi said that's unfair. 

"They were brought here because of the their parents, and we feel as a system, the students of this, that they should pay in-state tuition," said Fassi.

Fassi is one of dozens of student university presidents from across the state who are traveling to Tallahassee to push lawmakers to pass legislation that would grant people like Ricaldi in-state tuition rates.

At UNF, the cost per credit-hour for undergraduate Florida residents is $174.12. Out-of -state tuition balloons to $654.25 per credit-hour.

"These are our friends, these are neighbors, these are our classmates," said Fassi. "They're paying just over three times more than students who have to pay in-state tuition."

Ricaldi said he just wants to get an education in the country he calls home.

"It's like they're closing the doors right in front of you," said Ricaldi.

Only two south Florida colleges grant partial tuition waivers to students who have legal status under a federal program. Fassi said he hopes UNF's administration would at least consider something similar.

Recently, Gov. Rick Scott announced he would consider backing a measure to grant in-state tuition for students with temporary legal status.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of Action News Jacksonville

king kaos - 2/20/2014 11:06 AM
0 Votes
OK so if its such a big deal to get the tuition break, why not go through the PROPER channels and get legalized? Become a legal citizen of this country, if youve been here a decade it cant be too hard, and then a resident of Florida and then you get the Florida in state tuition prices. I mean come on man, this is just stupid "Heres someone who breaks the law and its not fair that they have to pay more money". Really? Well DONT BREAK THE LAW by being here ILLEGALLY THEN. Its not my fault your parents snuck in a stayed illegally and I shouldnt have to pay for it and thats exactly what will happem. "Its only another $100 per credit hour, your still getting a great deal for being a resident", whatever man and invalid. I already have to pay much more money in taxes to cover the partrolling, incarceration, support and management of illegals to begin with. THEY ARE HERE ILLEGALLY, THEY ARE LAW BREAKERS BY DEFINITION so why should they get breaks? more importantly why do I and my fellow tax payers have to be the ones who get hit with the bill? If there here illegally, that means they arent paying employee taxes so the complete burden falls on US.

GUS11 - 2/20/2014 6:56 AM
0 Votes
Why do you think these illegal people want to come to this country? They want everything for free. They get thier healthcare for free now, so lets just increase everybody's taxes and let them go to college for free. I just dropped over $200,000 to pay for my son's education, why not pay for everybody else who wants to go, especially ones who are not even a US citizen. If it was up to me, anyone who claims not to be a legal in this country, or is proven to be a ilegal, should be sent over the border, or sent to sea to never return. No trials, investigations, nothing....Period.

Truthseeker - 2/20/2014 6:00 AM
0 Votes
This just goes to show you how our Socialist education system is brainwashing the youth of this country. Why should any illegal alien, for whatever reason, have an advantage over a legal resident of this country?
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