New ‘grandparents’ bill could create uptick in out-of-state students at Florida’s colleges and universities

Your college tuition bill could be slashed to a third of the price for attending college in your home state. That same discount could be extended to out-of-state students but, there is a catch.

That student must have grandparents that live in Florida full time. Plus, they’ll have to have top-notch test scores.

The grandparents of these kids would not surprisingly welcome any chance to have their grandchildren closer.

In Florida, we’ve got sun, sand and quite a few grandparents, too.

Eileen Alcus lives in Cape Coral. “I have 11 grandchildren, most are in New York one is in Virginia one is in Maryland.”

Michelle Galvin says she has four grandchildren.

“One in Colorado two in Minneapolis,” said Mary Jo Koering who lives in Fort Myers.

Peggy Lomasson has two grandsons in Pennsylvania. And, Eleanor Wingfield, of Fort Myers and all of hers are in Michigan. “They’re all in Michigan, there’s 7 of them,” Wingfield said.

Every grandma that spoke to WINK News said they would love more time with their grandchildren.

If the sun and sand aren’t enough to bring them here, a new bill that’s been introduced may be just the thing. If this bill passes, it would mean that out-of-state college students could get in-state tuition if they have grandparents who live in Florida.

“It’s awesome I would love to have both of my grandsons down here,” Lomasson said.

“Well they’d be close to us,” Wingfield said, laughing.

“It would be Christmas every day! It would,” said Alcus.

For students to be eligible, their grandparents would have to be full-time residents, and they’d need a core in the 89th percentile or higher on the SAT or ACT.

However, not everyone is excited as these grandmas about the bill making its way through the legislature.

“It does incentivize that we’re on the forefront of higher education,” said one. But another doesn’t feel that way.

“It’s gonna displace students from getting spots at our university schools.”

While everyone in the Florida legislature may not love this bill, a grandmother’s love is always guaranteed.

“He was down here for his first birthday and I already miss him and he left two days ago,” Lomasson said.

“They’re just amazing, you’re gonna make me cry,” said Galvin.

The cost difference is a significant one as well. For example, at FGC, in-state tuition is about $6,000 meanwhile out-of-state is about $25,000.

The one concern people have about this bill, and what could ultimately hold it up, is if the influx of out-of-state students paying in-state prices could push Florida students who want to stay home out of our colleges and universities.

Reporter:Sydney Persing
Writer:Drew Hill
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