update deskSchools & Higher Education

DeSantis invite for students to transfer to Florida yields five applicants

“Over the coming months, they will have a tough decision to make—pack up and leave, or stay and endure continued hatred,” the governor said.

Entry sign to the state of Florida. Credit: Flickr.
Entry sign to the state of Florida. Credit: Flickr.

New data shows that an effort by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to respond to antisemitism in higher education has led to nominal results so far.

In January, DeSantis announced an “emergency measure” during Florida’s State of the State address that would allow Jewish students and others experiencing religious discrimination to potentially receive in-state tuition, with application fees waived, as part of the process. 

He said of the measure that “the pro-Hamas activities and rampant antisemitism we’ve witnessed throughout the country on these campuses has exposed the intellectual rot that has developed on so many university campuses over the years.”

At the same time, the Republican governor acknowledged in his address that those considering a move “will have a tough decision to make—pack up and leave, or stay and endure continued hatred.”

According to state records, at least five individuals have expressed interest in transferring. It’s not clear if any or all are Jewish.

State Rep. Anna Eskamani said she thought the measure was “more political than actually intentional.”

JNS contacted DeSantis’s office and was referred to the Florida Department of Education.

Amy Farnum-Patronis, director of the office of university communications for Florida State University in Tallahassee, confirmed that the school had one application via the executive order.

Althea Johnson, director of media relations at the University of South Florida in Tampa, said one student is going through the transfer for the summer semester.

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