MO Immigrant Students Rise Up Against Attacks on In-State Tuition

Sheridan Aguirre Press Releases

“Missouri will lose talent and the investment its made in us if they block us from the opportunity to finish a degree here at home.”

For Immediate Release
Media Contacts
Local: Alex Martinez | media@ksmoda.org | 816.382.1403
National: Sheridan Aguirre | sheridan@unitedwedream.org | 202.793.2267

Jefferson City, MO  – This Wednesday, the Missouri Senate will discuss a budget bill that includes language which would terminate in-state tuition rates for undocumented youth with DACA. Immigrant youth are urging that the state Senate strike sections 3.300 and 3.305 on budget bill HB 2003 in order to protect access to higher education for the 3,500 youth with DACA who call Missouri home.

This startling threat to repeal tuition equity for long-time immigrant residents of the state comes just as elsewhere in Arizona, the state’s Supreme Court ruled that students with DACA can no longer pay in-state tuition rates.

On Wednesday, a group of undocumented youth from the Kansas/Missouri Dream Alliance and allies will go to the Missouri State capital to lobby against this part of the Higher Education budget bill. The group will speak with members of the House and Senate to bring awareness to this important issue.

Please contact Alex Martinez to arrange an interview with students who have DACA who will be at the MO Capitol form 9:30am-1pm CST.

Arelis, a DACA recipient and student from University City, MO, said:

“Our state Senate must protect in-state tuition for students with DACA — it is the moral thing to do. If DACA recipients are forced to pay tuition at triple the cost of in-state rates, despite meeting state residency requirements and graduating from local high schools, they will leave. We want to work here but this unnecessary threat to block educational attainment for immigrant youth is already forcing students to seek opportunities out of state.

“Pricing us out could cost Missouri nearly 200 million annually. Missouri will lose talent and the investment its made in us if they block us from the opportunity to obtain a degree here at home.”

Rigo, a DACA recipient and student from St. Louis, MO, said:

“A lower tuition rate is important to me because it means I can afford to pursue my dreams and a better quality of life. As a DACA student in Missouri, I already receive no federal aid and no federal loans. By raising tuition rates, college is out of the question for the majority of DACA recipients who come from working class families and are fresh out of high school. We cannot break the cycle of poverty if the doors to higher education are marked “U.S. citizens only.”

“And right now, students aren’t the only ones feeling loss — our Missouri legislature is running education like a business and it feels like legislators are signaling to residents that they don’t care about the quality of our education, our lives, or our state. This is my home and I want Missouri to protect in-state tuition and our education.”

Victor, a DACA recipient and student from Riverside, MO, said:

“Education should be accessible to everyone so that we can further improve our communities across Missouri. I am currently studying Marketing and Human Resources and I hope to have a job where I can give back to my community, that’s why I think it’s important to provide in-state tuition to people from different backgrounds. By doing it so, it will contribute to the further development of our communities and younger generations of students.”

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United We Dream is the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the nation, a powerful network made up of over 400,000 members and 48 affiliate organizations across 26 states. UWD’s vision is to build a multi-racial, multi-ethnic movement of young people who organize and advocate at the local and national levels for the dignity and justice of immigrants and communities of color in the United States.