Governor Rick Scott (R) has pledged to sign the bill when it reaches his desk.
The bill comes at a time when access to higher education has been limited for immigrant communities. Scott has opposed DREAM Act legislation up until this year. Three years ago, US citizens were being denied in-state tuition due to their parents’ status, which was eventually determined unconstitutional by a judge.
“Higher education administrators will need to respond accordingly. Enrollments may increase, and that is a positive. There will be some loss in tuition dollars but not enough to make a negative impact. Access will be easier and increased,” Dr. Larry Lunsford, Vice President for Student Affairs at Florida International University said. “For institutions, diversity will increase, which is a positive. Higher education should be open to anyone who seeks it.”
In addition, to the ways in which colleges and universities will benefit from a diverse learning environment, HB 851 is advantageous for the state.
“The benefit to the state is that we will have a more educated populace,” said Lunsford. “The door is now open to individuals who eventually can make a difference in many different areas in society,” said Lunsford.