The ruling is in agreement with House Bill 441, which died in March. If the bill had passed, it would have ensured any dependent child in Florida who is a U.S. citizen, a lawful permanent resident, or a qualified alien whose parent is not a U.S. citizen, be eligible for in-state tuition at a Florida college or university. Currently, Florida's policy forces many legal residents to spend up to three times more on tuition.
Moore's ruling came from a lawsuit filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center. He said Florida's existing tuition discrimination violates the Constitution.
In a press release, Democratic Rep. Reggie Fullwood of Jacksonville said, "I hope today's ruling quickly ends Florida's ridiculous policy of requiring U.S. citizens to pay expensive out-of-state tuition rates simply because their parents' legal status. The bottom line is simple: A U.S. citizen should be treated like a U.S. citizen regardless of who their parents are. Judge Moore's ruling will give thousands of students the opportunity to better afford college and provide new opportunities for their futures."
Hazelle Rogers, D-Lauderhill, also applauded the judge's ruling, saying, "I am thrilled by today's court ruling. Education is the hallmark of the American dream and should be accessible, affordable and available."
The Associated Press' Curt Anderson reported that Florida students who are classified as "non-residents" can be charged more than triple the cost of in-state tuition. The policy affects those under the age of 24, who are claimed as dependents by parents.