Missouri expands access to higher education: HB 46, 147, 557

This legislative session, members of the Missouri House of Representatives are taking proactive measures to expand access and affordability to higher education for immigrants. Three of the most beneficial and proactive ones are: HB46: Modifies Provisions Relating to Higher Education Tuition; HB147: Repeals Provisions that Prohibit Students who are Undocumented from Receiving Postsecondary Education Public Benefits; and HB557: Missouri Tuition Equity Act.

HB46 is a bill that looks at expanding in-state tuition to DACA recipients. Currently under Missouri law, students who are not citizens are required to pay international tuition rates and are ineligible from receiving financial aid or scholarships from public and state universities. This places an undue financial burden on our immigrant neighbors, who deserve equal access to education in our state.  The bill outlines a few qualifications such as having lived in Missouri for two years, and graduated from a Missouri high school as a Missouri resident, in order to be eligible for in-state tuition rates. It does not impact access to financial aid or scholarships.  

HB147 pursues a different avenue to the same conclusions. Currently, undocumented students are ineligible from receiving postsecondary public education benefits, but this bill would repeal that, while offering more affordable tuition rates.

HB557 does not allow institutions to withhold admission due to the immigration status of an individual, and cannot expose any information from the admissions process to law enforcement- each student must be a considered a Missouri resident if they meet the criteria in the bill (i.e. attended a Missouri school for two years and received a diploma/ graduated from a Missouri high school, the student will file to become a perminant resident, among other bill criteria).

ALIGNING WITH IFCLA

HB46 would support the liberation of Missouri immigrant students through providing equitable access to education, to further improve our country.  Many studies have shown that education helps keep people out of prison and lowers recidivism rates, and we know in experience that education is an integral part of personal and social transformation.  The potential many people have, but are not capable of demonstrating, is displeasing.  Financial constraints should not be a barrier for people to obtain quality education and the U.S. should be taking co-responsibility for how to be able to provide education for people whose countries cannot provide.  The dignity to the person who migrated and help them pursue their ability to help our physical environment and bring their full potential to the U.S. Fair trade also encourages education to children specifically, while still helping working parents.

Click here for more information on Fair Trade’s positions on education.

Click here to see Missouri Immigration and Refugee Advocates talking points on the education bills.