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A bill in the Missouri Legislature would codify Missouri's recent practice of offering in-state tuition only to legal residents of the state.

We believe that makes sense.

As we reported Wednesday, a bill sponsored by state Sen. Bob Onder, R-Lake Saint Louis, would ban in-state tuition rates at publicly funded universities for students living here illegally.

Since 2015, the lawmakers have written that requirement into the budget. Prior to that, at least one college, St. Louis Community College, allowed students with a Missouri high school diploma who were living in the country illegally to pay the lower in-state tuition rate.

Immigrants have always benefited our state and nation, and we should keep welcoming them through the process that's been established.

There are plenty of people who have gone through that process, and for many of them it hasn't been easy. So it's not fair to reward those who haven't.

It's also not fair to be giving in-state tuition, which is subsidized so it's about half price, to those who are here illegally. Why would the state subsidize tuition for those here illegally, while continuing to not subsidize legal citizens who live in other states?

Some claim most students living here illegally while looking for colleges aren't flouting immigration laws, as they simply were brought to the U.S. by their parents. Not offering them in-state tuition rates will encourage them to either not seek a college education or seek it in another state, opponents of the bill have claimed.

Those arguments aren't without merit, but with limited resources, it just makes sense to focus on those who are here legally.

News Tribune

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