Florida and Virginia have become the latest states to allow young undocumented immigrants to qualify for in-state tuition, bringing the total to 21 states.

On May 2, the Florida Legislature approved a state DREAM Act that Governor Rick Scott has promised to sign. The state law will benefit the roughly 200,000 undocumented students who will be eligible for in-state tuition rates if they attended a Florida high school the previous three years.

In Virginia, lawmakers declined passage of a DREAM Act; but on April 29, State Attorney General Mark R. Herring issued a legal opinion to public colleges, stating that undocumented immigrants under the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) are entitled to the lower tuition rates available to state residents. Under DACA, certain undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. by their parents as minors and who meet certain age and eligibility criteria can defer deportation and get employment authorization for two years.

According to the National Immigration Law Center, 16 states now authorize in-state tuition rates to undocumented students through legislation – California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Washington. Hawaii, Michigan, Oklahoma and Rhode Island also authorize in-state tuition rates to immigrants through their state Board of Regents. Five states – California, Minnesota, New Mexico, Texas and Washington – extend state student aid to undocumented students.

Bucking the trend, Arizona, Georgia and Indiana prohibit undocumented students from qualifying for in-state tuition rates, and Alabama and South Carolina go further in barring undocumented students from enrolling in state colleges and post-secondary education.

BAL Analysis: The offers of in-state tuition demonstrate a continuing trend in providing access to education and employment-related benefits to undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as minors.

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