As the Missouri Legislature considers prohibiting access to in-state tuition for Missouri Dreamers, new data shows there are significant economic benefits the state would bypass.
Jefferson City, MO – Today New American Economy (NAE), a bipartisan immigration research and advocacy organization, released a new study showing how offering in-state tuition to the state’s undocumented students would significantly benefit Missouri’s economy. This research comes as the Missouri legislature considers Senate Bill 642, which would prohibit expanding in-state tuition to undocumented Missouri students who have grown up in and graduated from the state’s high schools or passed a high school equivalency exam.
New American Economy’s analysis finds that if Missouri prohibits in-state tuition access for Dreamers, it risks losing out on an additional $780,000 in state and local tax revenue and $6.4 million in spending power that could be reinvested into the state’s economy each year.
The report also found that the state would miss out on an additional:
- 1,637 undocumented students eligible to enroll in college
- 903 graduates within six years, resulting in a total of $8.4 million in additional annual income due to additional wages after graduation
- $2 million in federal income, state, and local taxes annually
As Missouri continues to have a labor force growth rate that has lagged behind the national average since the 1970s, businesses across the state are facing worker shortages that limit their ability to grow and compete. Making college tuition affordable to Dreamers for whom it was previously prohibitively expensive would increase the talent pool of qualified, educated workers in the state. Another bill under consideration, House Bill 1423 would expand tuition to Dreamers helping local businesses capitalize on this untapped talent.
Nearly 20 states, including Kansas, Oklahoma, and Nebraska already offer in-state tuition to all residents, including qualified undocumented students.
As Missouri continues to face low unemployment, our economy needs educated college graduates to fill gaps in the workforce,” said Cathy Bennett, Senior Vice President, Public Policy & Government Relations at the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. “Now is the time to be ensuring we are doing everything we can to create pathways for our Missouri students to access higher education.”
“Giving more Missouri high school graduates the chance to pay their way through college isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s smart economic policy,” said Kate Brick, Director State and Local Initiatives of New American Economy. “At a time when Missouri faces significant workforce and talent shortages, there is no reason not to create a talent pipeline of more educated workers to boost business across the state.”
Find the full report, including its methodology, here.
About New American Economy
New American Economy (NAE) is a bipartisan research and advocacy organization founded to educate, empower and support policymakers, influencers, and citizens across the country that see the economic and social benefits of a smart approach to immigration reform. NAE has created a coalition of civic, business, and cultural leaders who span the political spectrum and represent all 50 states. NAE makes the case for smart immigration reform in four ways: 1) we use powerful research to demonstrate how immigration impacts our economy, 2) we organize champions at the grassroots and influencer levels to build support for immigration, 3) we partner with state and local leaders to advocate for policies that recognize the value immigrants add locally, and 4) we show immigrant contributions to American culture through film, food, art, sports, comedy, and more. Visit newamericaneconomy.org to learn more.