Missouri lawmakers limit immigrant college aid

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Missouri lawmakers have approved a budget with provisions aimed at restricting financial aid for college students who don’t have a legal immigration status.

The higher education spending plan approved Wednesday bans state scholarships from going to those students. It also requires public colleges and universities to charge those students the same tuition rate as international students. If schools don’t, they face losing state funding.

The move drew pushback from Democratic lawmakers. Kansas City Rep. Judy Morgan told colleagues on the House floor that the students didn’t have a choice in coming to the U.S. She says they face significant financial burdens in pursuing higher education.

Republican House Budget Committee Vice-Chairman Justin Alferman says colleges and universities can charge less for international tuition or get rid of that rate altogether.

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5:25 p.m.

Missouri senators have given final approval to a budget plan with close to $99 million more for K-12 public schools and stable higher education funding.

Senators passed the elementary and secondary education budget 29-1 Wednesday. The spending plan for colleges and universities passed 24-7.

The education proposals are part of a budget package outlining roughly $28 billion in state spending for the fiscal year beginning in July. Several other budget bills still need a vote of approval from the Senate before they can go to Gov. Eric Gretens’ desk for approval.

Under lawmakers’ budget plan, public colleges and universities will get the same amount of money next fiscal year as they’re expected to get this year. If enacted, the budget would meet goals outlined in state law for K-12 education funding.

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1:30 p.m.

A budget proposal with stable funding for most public colleges and universities has passed the Missouri House.

House lawmakers voted 119-28 for the higher education budget Wednesday.

Gov. Eric Greitens called for a $68 million cut compared to what colleges and universities are expected to receive this year. But lawmakers opted to maintain level funding.

Several schools are slated for slight one-time funding boosts. Missouri Southern State University is getting a $2 million bonus. Lawmakers budgeted another $4 million to Lincoln University to help the school draw down federal land grant money. Harris-Stowe State University is set for another $750,000.

The proposal is part of a budget package outlining roughly $28 billion in state spending for the fiscal year beginning in July. The budget still needs final approval from senators.

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11:30 a.m.

The Missouri House has approved a budget plan that includes close to $99 million more in funding for K-12 public schools next fiscal year.

House lawmakers voted 133-18 in favor of the education spending plan Wednesday. It’s part of a larger budget package outlining roughly $28 billion in state spending for the fiscal year that begins in July.

The budget proposal still needs a final vote of approval from senators.

Enacting the budget proposal would mean lawmakers meet K-12 spending goals outlined in state law, and Republican lawmakers lauded it as providing record funding for schools.

But some Democrats said the increase still is not enough to adequately fund public education.

The budget plan also includes another $10 illion for school busing and another $50 million for early childhood education.

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