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Missouri Policy

Updated as of: March 21, 2017

 In-State Tuition

  • The state of Missouri does not provide in-state tuition to undocumented students. According to Missouri's state budget, "public higher education institutions cannot knowingly offer these students in-state tuition." DACA recipients may be eligible for in-state tuition at certain institutions.

 Legislative History

  • In 2005, the Missouri state senate considered but did not pass SB 296, a proposal to allow public universities to provide in-state tuition to undocumented students.
  • In 2007, the Missouri state legislature considered HB 269, which would have barred undocumented students from admission to public colleges and universities in the state.
  • In 2009, the Missouri state legislature passed HB 390, prohibiting public colleges and universities from providing financial aid to undocumented students.
  • In 2012, the Missouri state senate considered SB 590, a proposal to require all elementary and secondary schools to check students’ immigration status. In addition, the bill would require law enforcement to determine the citizenship and immigration status of a person pulled over or arrested if there is reasonable suspicion that the person is an unlawfully present alien.
  • SB 722, HB 1870, HB 1704, HB 1784 were all bills that would provide in-state tuition to undocumented students and have been referred to and stalled in the Higher Education Committee in January and February of 2014.
  • HB 1637 has stalled in the Higher Education Committee as of February 2014. If it passed, it would have prohibited higher education institutions from offering a tuition rate to undocumented students that is less than the rate charged to citizens and non-resident nationals.
  • Missouri’s Senate Appropriations Committee adopted a state budget in 2014 that continues to prevent public colleges and universities from knowingly offering in-state tuition to undocumented students.
  • In 2015, HB 3 was passed with language clarifying that students with DACA status are ineligible for in-state tuition rates.
  • In 2015, SB 224, barring undocumented students from receiving the state's A+ Scholarship, was passed over Gov. Jay Nixon's veto.
  • In 2016, HB 2353 was introduced. If passed, it would allow undocumented students to receive in-state tuition if they meet certain requirements, such as attending a high school in Missouri for two years as of their date of graduation. As of May 2016, the bill has been referred to the Elementary and Secondary Education Committee. 
  • In 2017, HB 453 was introduced. It is also known as the "Missouri Tuition Equity Act". If passed, it would grant in-state tuition to undocumented students meeting the following requirements: (1) the person resided with their parent or guardian, or was emancipated, while attending a public or private high school in Missouri; (2) the individual graduated from a high school in Missouri or received the equivalent of a high school diploma in the state; (3) the individual attended high school in Missouri for at least two years as of the date the individual graduaed from high school or received the equivalent of a high school diploma; (4) the individual entered the United States before the bill's enactment; and (5) the individual has signed an affidavit indicating that they will file an application to become a permanent resident when eligible.

 Other Relevant Policies

  • HB 1549 requires all public employers to use E-Verify to confirm that employees are authorized to work.
  • Passed in 2009, HB 361 specifies that drivers license applicants should be citizens or lawful residents of Missouri.
  • Passed in 2011, HB 163 made undocumented workers ineligible for benefits based on work they performed.
  • HB 264 was read for the first time in 2017. If passed, it would prohibit employers from knowingly employing an undocumented employee.
  • In 2017, HB 980 was introduced. If passed, it would prohibit municipalities from enacting sanctuary policies.


 Research and Policy Reports

 Additional Resources

Federal law has been unsuccessful at addressing comprehensive access to postsecondary education for undocumented students. Despite efforts to pass the DREAM Act and comprehensive immigration reform, Congress has not addressed the current ambiguous language in IIRIRA regarding undocumented students' eligibility for educational benefits (i.e. in-state tuition and state-funded financial aid programs). Therefore, much of the policy activity regarding postsecondary access for undocumented students has shifted to state and system levels. As a result, state policymakers and higher education institutions take varied approaches to either broadening or restricting access to postsecondary education and educational benefits. Others states have yet to take formal action on this issue, leaving the decision to individual campus leaders.

Under the provisions of this ambiguous policy context, undocumented youth encounter contentious environments with policies that range from inclusive, restrictive, or unstipulated stances.

Inclusive: States with policies that explicitly grant in-state tuition and/or eligibility for public financial aid for undocumented students.

Restrictive: States with policies that explicitly deny eligibility for admission and/or in-state tuition for undocumented students.

Unstipulated: States that do not have stated policies that explicitly address undocumented student access to postsecondary education.

State and system policies are volatile and continuously changing. For the latest, please visit the uLEAD NewsdeskFor information specific to individual state context, click in the subheadings below.