UF group seeks tuition equity for all in-state students

Published: Monday, September 30, 2013 at 4:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, September 30, 2013 at 2:26 p.m.

A University of Florida organization is fighting to make sure all in-state students get to pay the in-state tuition rate.

UF Students for a Democratic Society recently kicked off its campaign to gain tuition equity for students who lack legal documentation and who are now charged out-of-state tuition.

“A lot of these students have been living in Florida all their lives,’’ said Chrisley Carpio, 21, lead organizer for the group.

“These are students who were told if they do well in high school, they could have whatever future they want, and they don’t see those dreams crystallize when they graduate,” she said.

UF does not keep track of undocumented student demographics, said Janine Sikes, assistant vice president of University Relations. Carpio estimated the number to be in the hundreds.

The organization is working with CHISPAS UF, the Hispanic Student Assembly at UF and the Institute of Hispanic-Latino Cultures to discuss tuition equity with UF officials.

They hope to meet with UF President Bernie Machen, and ultimately, to get the issue on the agenda at the Board of Trustees meeting in December.

Carpio said her organization was inspired by a similar campaign at Florida International University over the summer, which led to the university approving partial tuition waivers to students under the federal government’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA provides temporary resident status to children of those who illegally immigrated to the United States.

“The proposal that we’ll be submitting to Bernie Machen follows that model, but ideally, we want to open up access to higher education for all undocumented students at UF,” she said.

Carpio said she is confident that Machen will respond positively to the organization’s proposals, citing his past support of the DREAM Act. In 2009, Machen signed a student petition to rally support for the law.

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