Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Editorial: Missouri's Higher Education Department Scores A+ on Immigration Studies

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Editorial: Missouri's Higher Education Department Scores A+ on Immigration Studies

Article excerpt

Finessing the Missouri Legislature, the state Department of Higher Education plans to give free tuition to some immigrant students at Missouri's community colleges.

Legislators last session barred state colleges and universities from extending in-state tuition rates to students who have applied for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. These are most often students who have graduated from Missouri high schools, live in the state and want to attend college. They were brought to the United States by their parents as youngsters, frequently as babies, and have grown up as Americans in everything but the privileges of citizenship.

Keeping these high-achieving students in the state would be good for the Missouri's economy, something lawmakers can't bring themselves to admit. Fortunately wiser heads at the higher education department came up with a work-around. If they can't get in-state tuition, maybe they can get free tuition at community colleges.

These kids were taught from an early age that education is a cornerstone to success in the land of opportunity. For legislators to thwart these young people is wrong-headed.

The Higher Education department plans to expand the state's A+ scholarship program to include students who are awaiting action on their DACA status. The status means the young people are "lawfully present" at least temporarily in the United States. It allows them eligibility for work and education benefits, according to education department attorney Bill Thornton.

Repeated studies and reports have shown that immigrants help communities grow by opening new businesses, creating jobs, paying taxes and developing and upgrading residential property. …

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