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The Florida Senate

Senator Taddeo, District 40 — Press Release


November 21, 2019

CONTACT: Valentina Cortes, 2027142941

Sen. Taddeo, Rep. Smith, Rep. Driskell file bill extending Bright Futures Scholarship to Immigrant Students

SB 188 / HB 693 extends state financial aid awards to qualified DACA, TPS, and undocumented students

Orlando, FL - With the impending determination by the U.S. Supreme Court about whether the Trump administration’s rescission of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was lawful, Sen. Annette Taddeo (D-Miami) and Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith (D-Orlando) and primo-cosponsor Rep. Fentrice Driskell (D-Tampa) have re-introduced legislation to address inequities faced by DACA, TPS, and all undocumented students in Florida’s higher education system. If passed, SB 188 / HB 693 would expand access to state student financial aid awards, including the Bright Futures Scholarship program, to students who have been granted temporary protected status (TPS), DACA, or another form of prosecutorial discretion by the United States Department of Homeland Security. Due to President Trump’s hold on new DACA recipients, HB 693 also extends this opportunity to all undocumented students.

According to a recent report published by the Center for American Progress, there are approximately 25,500 DACA recipients in Florida. CAP estimates these individuals contribute $157.4M in federal taxes and $72.8M in state and local taxes. The National Immigration Forum estimates that there are nearly 61,000 TPS recipients in Florida, similarly contributing to the state’s economy.

Senator Annette Taddeo offered the following statement:

“Florida has invested into educating from K-12 for our nearly 26,000 DACA students, as such they should be provided the same opportunities for success as their peers after high school. DACA recipients contribute to our economy, have enormous spending power. The same goes for our TPS recipients, and all of our undocumented students. During this tremendously tumultuous times, this legislation not only levels the playing field; it provides reassurance that Florida stands with all of our students.”


Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith offered the following statement:

“The Florida legislature has an opportunity to expand on the good bipartisan achievements made in 2014 when we extended in-state tuition to thousands of DACA students who graduated from Florida public schools by expanding Bright Futures access to hard working immigrant students who call Florida home. This is especially critical as their fate lies in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court, and President Trump’s efforts to end DACA. It’s in our state interest to help these students succeed-- not create obstacles to their academic achievement.”


Representative Fentrice Driskell offered the following statement:

“In Florida, we know that obtaining a higher education helps level the playing field by preparing young people to compete in the 21st century economy. I am proud to support HB 693, which will allow all undocumented students to have equal and equitable access to educational and financial resources so that they might have the same opportunities for success in life as their peers.”


Karen Caudillo, a student at the University of Central Florida and DACA student offered the following statement:

“I’m the first in my family line to ever to receive a higher education, and I don’t take this opportunity for granted. Yet students like me still face barriers to success and constant unknowns. This bill ensures another step towards equity for all students, so that we can be judged on our merits, rather than country of origin. This legislation will give opportunity to so many who deserve and have worked hard to attend higher education.”


Melissa Taveras, Communications Director of the The Florida Immigrant Coalition offered the following statement:

“All students in Florida should be able to afford higher education regardless of their financial status or country of origin. As President Trump works to dismantle DACA, the state of Florida can take an incredible step to protect our hardworking students. We thank Senator Taddeo and Representative Smith for their work to ensure that immigrant students in this state are afforded the opportunity to make the best of themselves. The Florida Immigrant Coalition is proud to support this effort.”


Sadaf Knight, CEO of Florida Policy Institute offered the following statement:

“Young Floridians who are undocumented face a host of barriers to obtaining a post-secondary education. While Florida is one of 21 states that passed tuition equity laws, students who are undocumented remain ineligible for federal and state financial aid. Allowing all students — regardless of immigration status — to access Florida’s financial aid programs would increase college retention and completion rates. It would also boost state and local economies, as the higher wages associated with a two- or four-year degree generate additional revenue that furthers the shared prosperity of all Floridians.”

Click here for full House Bill text

Click here for full Senate Bill text