FORT MYERS — Florida's university presidents are fighting a bill that would make it harder for students to gain residency status in the state preventing them from eventually paying lower in-state tuition.
The bill (SB 2264) got nearly unanimous approval in both chambers of the legislature last month, passing 39-0 in the Senate and 117-1 in the House. It could save taxpayers as much as $28.2 million in tuition from students who are mistakenly classified as residents, according to a state report.
But university presidents said Wednesday that it would negatively affect their ability to recruit graduate students, who often rely on gaining residency status after attending school for one year.
The bill would require students to have lived in Florida for one year before their first day at a state university. If they are already enrolled in a university, they could gain residency status only after working full time for one year and not attending school during that time.
Gov. Jeb Bush has yet to sign the bill and asked presidents for their recommendation on what to do.
"Veto it," was the response given Wednesday during the State University Presidents Association meeting at Florida Gulf Coast University.
In lieu of the bill, the presidents said they want the Board of Governors to adopt a rule that would apply the language only to undergraduate students.
The presidents association's meeting preceded today's Board of Governors meeting.