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Melanie is a teacher thanks to in-state tuition for DREAMers. That program could be cut

Danielle Prieur
Melanie Candia is a first grade special education teacher at Unlocking Children’s Potential Charter Schools of Central Florida.

A Florida law that allows kids who were brought to the US illegally by their parents, to qualify for in-state tuition, could be on the chopping block.

Under the 2014 law, DREAMers who have lived in the state for at least three years and attended a Florida high school, qualify for in-state tuition.

But Gov. Ron DeSantis has asked lawmakers to repeal the law this session.

Melanie Candia is a first grade special education teacher at Unlocking Children’s Potential Charter Schools of Central Florida. Candia is also a DREAMer.

She said she wouldn’t have been able to get her teaching degree if she had to pay out-of-state tuition.

"So you know, I'm very grateful that I was able to afford, the rates for in-state tuition," said Candia. "And without it, I really would not be here, I would not have had any connection or impact on the students that I know I've had an impact on.”

Now, she said she's worried about what will happen to her own students who are also undocumented if the law is overturned.

“They're so smart, they're so bright, they're full of life, and they're the future as cliché as that sounds, but this would directly impact those students in education.”

The Florida Policy Institute says the number of DREAMers who have taken advantage of this law, has decreased since the 2018-2019 school year.

Still, some 6,500 students benefited from the program last year.

Danielle Prieur is WMFE's education reporter.
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