DeSantis vetoes bill allowing inmates to retain in-state tuition status

by | Jun 26, 2024

Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed legislation that would have allowed incarcerated individuals to retain their resident status for in-state tuition purposes, arguing that offering such benefits to inmates undermines Florida’s higher education system.

Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed legislation on Monday that would have allowed incarcerated individuals to maintain their resident status for tuition purposes, stating that the state should not “reward criminal activity” by offering the same educational benefits to inmates as it does to law-abiding citizens.

Senate Bill 62, sponsored by Sen. Rosalind Osgood sought to prevent the loss of residency status for tuition purposes due to incarceration, facilitating access to lower in-state tuition rates upon release.

In his veto transmission letter, DeSantis justified his veto in a statement, noting that Florida’s higher education system has been ranked first in the nation for nearly a decade, a status he attributed to careful state investment in educational infrastructure.. He expressed concerns that providing in-state tuition rates to inmates might undermine such achievements.

“Florida’s higher education system has ranked number one in the country for nearly a decade, partly due to the state’s investment in our institutions over that same period. We should not reward criminal activity by providing inmates with the same benefits as law-abiding citizens.”

This legislation would have established in state statute that individuals who have previously established their residency for tuition purposes do not lose this status due to incarceration in a state or federal correctional facility in Florida. The financial implications for residents versus nonresidents is large, with qualified residents paying significantly lower tuition rates. For example, the State University System currently charges $105.07 per credit hour for residents, compared to $690.63 for nonresidents, on average.

The measure advanced through the Florida Senate with unanimous support, subsequently passing the Florida House by a 109 to 5 margin.


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