Some of the worst sexual predators in Florida (search) are taking college courses and U.S. taxpayers are picking up the tab.

Federal law enacted in 1994 prevents state and federal prison inmates from getting financial aid. But Florida law, enacted not long afterward in response to a gruesome child rape and murder, allowed jurors to confine the worst predators in mental health facilities.

Offenders housed in these centers are not called "inmates" but "residents." According to the letter of the law, that means they qualify for Pell Grants (search) dispersed by the Department of Education (search).

Family members of victims are outraged over the loophole, but at least one convicted -- and now released -- sex offender said he is entitled to the money and thinks it's a better investment for the state to have the cash go to his education rather than to his housing in an institution.

In the past year alone, 54 sexual predators residing in one mental health facility have received about $200,000 to take college courses. Congress is likely to consider amending the law when it returns to Washington, D.C., next year.

Click here to view this fair and balanced report from Fox News' Orlando Salinas.