St. Louis Public Radio News
7:58 pm
Tue July 7, 2009

Financial aid for illegal immigrants barred in Mo.

Jefferson City, MO – Governor Jay Nixon has signed a bill into law designed to make it harder for illegal immigrants to attend college in Missouri.

The new law blocks illegal immigrants from receiving various forms of financial aid, and defines which documents international students may use to verify their status.

Scott Holste is Governor Nixon's Press Secretary.

"We want to insure that the financial aid that is available to students at Missouri universities will go to those students who are here in this country legally," Holste said.

Jennifer Rafanan is Executive Director of the group Missouri Immigrant and Refugee Advocates.

She's pleased that harsher language barring illegal immigrants from enrolling in college was removed before passage.

"It's a good compromise...we don't want to bar students from having access to higher education...that doesn't create a good educational climate in our state," Rafanan said.

Rafanan added, though, that more work needs to be done to make immigrants feel welcome in Missouri.

The new law took effect immediately upon the governor's signature.