A new state law bars Missouri students who are in the United States illegally from receiving a state scholarship that would shield them from high tuition rates, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
Missouri’s General Assembly voted on Wednesday to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of a bill that bars the students from being awarded the A+ Scholarship, which pays for two years of tuition at community colleges. The students, who were typically brought to the United States as children by their parents, will now have to pay the highest possible rate to attend the state’s colleges and universities — in some cases, almost twice as much — because of another law passed by the legislature this year.
Governor Nixon, a Democrat, vetoed the bill on the grounds that making the students ineligible for the scholarship was tantamount to punishing “children who have done nothing wrong.”
The law, college officials say, may affect hundreds of students’ ability to attend college when it goes into effect, on October 16. The A+ program was under financial strain, with rising college costs, but it will fund $35 million in scholarships.
Some hope for the affected students lies at individual colleges and universities. St. Louis Community College will privately fund $250,000 in aid for about 50 students who would have met requirements for the A+ Scholarship.
“First of all, we will abide by the law,” the community college’s chancellor, Jeff Pittman, told the Post-Dispatch. “But we very much understand the hardships students who want to attend college are facing. We are an open-access institution. We want to make education possible for people.”