Gov. Scott signs into law in-state tuition bill

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Florida students living in the country illegally will be allowed to qualify for in-state college tuition rates under a bill signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott.

Scott signed the bill privately on Monday. But he plans to tout the signing at a campaign event scheduled later today in Fort Myers.

The new law offers in-state college tuition rates to undocumented students who had attended a Florida school for at least three years before graduation.

The current in-state rate is one-quarter of what out-of-state students and those in the country illegally pay.

The in-state college tuition bill had been considered several times before, when it drew strong opposition from many Republicans.

But this year, Scott and other GOP leaders such as House Speaker Will Weatherford backed the bill.

Per a release, here are reactions to Scott’s signing of the bill.

House Speaker Will Weatherford said, “The dreams of many individuals looking to further their education are now within reach. I thank Governor Scott for giving all of Florida’s children a chance to succeed. This is a proud and historic moment for Florida.”

Senator Jack Latvala, Senate bill sponsor, said, “Today, we are taking a critical step in ensuring that future generations are able to afford college. We know that a good education is the foundation to finding a great job and I thank Governor Scott for signing this important piece of legislation.”

Representative Jeanette Nuñez, House bill sponsor, said, “I applaud Governor Scott for signing this historic piece of legislation on behalf of all Florida families. Access to affordable education will provide our students with more opportunities to live the American dream.”

Senator Garrett Richter, President Pro Tempore said, “This legislation is a crucial step to ensuring every student has the opportunity to receive the education they deserve. I commend Governor Scott for his dedication to bettering the lives of our students.”

Senator John Thrasher said, “At a time when Florida’s economy is experiencing an incredible recovery, it is crucial to focus on the young Floridians who will someday lead our state. The governor’s decision to sign this legislation will provide our students with the opportunities to succeed in the classroom and the workforce.”

Senator Rene Garcia said, “All students who live and grow up in our state deserve the same opportunities to succeed. Through signing this legislation, Governor Scott is helping to provide fair access to affordable education for all of our great students.”

Senator Anitere Flores said, “Today, Governor Scott signed historic legislation that will keep tuition low for all college students. We must make sure that our students can afford to get a great education, and today we are one step closer.”

Representative Steve Crisafulli, Speaker-Designate said, “I am proud to join Governor Scott in supporting this legislation. By making college affordable for all Florida students and military personnel, Governor Scott is continuing his commitment to making Florida the friendliest state in the nation for the military as well as providing our students with the tools they need to succeed in their education and in their futures.”

Representative Eddy Gonzalez said, “Governor Scott’s signing of House Bill 851 is a tremendous milestone for our great state.  Together, we have worked to guarantee that higher education is available to every qualifying Floridian.  Now, every child that has grown up in Florida will be given the same opportunities to succeed as their classmates.”

Material from the Associated Press was used in this post.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.