H.B. 297 makes significant changes to Florida's Bright Futures Scholarship program, expanding eligibility for a lot of students. Check out our infographic on what the legislation does.
Brayan Vazquez, a student at Miami Dade College travels over 100 miles every Tuesday and Thursday just to get to school and back. It shouldn't be like this. Brayan is undocumented and was granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). He's been in Florida for the past 7 years and his only affordable option for college is Miami Dade because they allow Brayan to pay in-state tuition.
From a March 4 article in The Reporter at Miami Dade College:
On a chilly morning in Boynton Beach, glimmers of dawn cut through the pitch-black sky, as Brayan Vazquez steps out of his home and begins a 55-mile journey to school.
Brayan (pronounced BRY-uhn) is undocumented.
He doesn’t have a car or a driver’s license, so today, like every Tuesday and Thursday, his dad Jesus Vazquez heads to his construction job in Boca Raton and drops Brayan, a 19-year-old computer science major at Miami Dade College, off at the Delray Beach Tri-Rail station to start his nearly two-hour trek to North Campus.
Students from Arizona colleges and universities met with state legislators in Phoenix last week to discuss higher education issues in the 2014 state legislature. Our partners at Women in Government recruited the legislators and Young Invincibles and the Student Impact Project brought the students.
Joining the conversation were Rep. Lela Allston, Sen. Olivia Cajero Bedford, Rep. Sally Ann Gonzales, Rep. Stefani Mach, Rep. Lisa Otondo, Sen Lynne Pancrazi, and our host Sen. Anna Tovar.
Representing students were Morgan Abraham, student body president at the University of Arizona, Karen Gonzales from Glendale Community College, Alma Hernandez University of Arizona/Pima Community College, and Cymone Ragland from Northern Arizona University/Glendale Community College.
Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives Will Weatherford again expressed his support for in-state tuition for undocumented Floridian students. On the first day of the 2014 legislative session, Weatherford justified his position on the House floor by saying "We should never punish a child for the mistake of their parents."
From a March 4 Sunshine State News article:
As has often been the case since taking over their chambers after the 2012 election, Weatherford stressed he and Gaetz are mostly on the same page but the speaker also brought up an issue on which they differ by calling for the children of undocumented immigrants to receive in-state tuition at Florida’s colleges and universities.
Check out some of the highlights from our first Student Impact Convening in California. Special guests included State Senator Hannah Beth Jackson, Vanessa Cajina, Legislative Advocate for the Western Center on Law & Poverty, and Jessie Ryan, Associate Director of the Campaign for College Opportunity.
In the Jan. 19 Arizona Daily Star article “Arizona spends too much sending too many to college, lawmaker says,” Rep. John Kavanagh, chairman of the Arizona House Appropriations Committee, said, “If somebody’s going to end up in a sales position or be a real estate agent, why are we investing all this money in a research university degree?”
Rep. Kavanagh raises an important question. As he correctly states, tax revenues and student tuition dollars support university students. We need to ask questions about the wisdom of these investments.
What is the purpose of attending universities like the University of Arizona? There are two answers.
Students pursuing higher education in Virginia continue to see tremendous increases in tuition rates — 41 percent over the past five years at four-year schools — due in large part to the decrease in state support. Virginia community colleges have also seen state support drop, from $4,275 per student to $2,583 in the past four years, driving tuition up for those students who can often least afford it. With each new year, higher education becomes less and less affordable, and students are graduating with more debt than ever; the average student debt load in Virginia is $24,717.
Moreover, even the increases in tuition rates still do not account for the lack of state-appropriated funds, and colleges and universities are having to make cuts and reduce funding to some important components of higher education, including course offerings and class sizes.
But for every problem, if we have our priorities straight, there’s a solution. One step in the right direction is the $50.9 million unallocated balance former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell left behind in his last budget, the largest unappropriated balance since 1991. I can’t think of a more worthy priority for the commonwealth’s future than making higher education more affordable for Virginia students.