Verifying Citizenship Status
During the 2009 legislative session, legislators passed HB 390, which was supported by the MDHE and higher education institutions and which significantly revised the prior year's immigration omnibus bill, HB 1549. Governor Nixon signed HB 390 on July 7, 2009, and the bill took effect immediately because it contained an emergency clause.
HB 390 requires the following:
- No "covered student" who is unlawfully present in the U.S. may receive a "postsecondary education public benefit."
- "Covered student" is defined as a student who is at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, and is attending classes on the campus of a college or university during regularly scheduled academic sessions.
- "Postsecondary education public benefit" is defined as including (1) institutional financial aid awarded by a public college or university and (2) state-administered grants and scholarships awarded by any postsecondary higher education institution.*
- Schools must verify that each covered student who receives a postsecondary education public benefit is a U.S. citizen, a permanent resident, or lawfully present in the U.S. Documents, either in hard copy or electronic format, that may be used for such verification include:
- The ISIR (Institutional Student Information Record) generated after a student completes a FAFSA;
- A state-issued driver's license;
- A state-issued non-driver's identification card;
- Documentary evidence recognized by the Missouri Department of Revenue when processing an application for a driver's license or non-driver's identification card;
- A U.S. birth certificate;
- A U.S. military identification card; and
- Any document issued by the federal government that confirms a student's lawful presence in the U.S.
- Finally, all postsecondary institutions that award "postsecondary education public benefits" to "covered students" must annually certify to the MDHE that all students to whom they awarded such benefits during the previous fiscal year were U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or lawfully present in the U.S.** This certification must be made no later than June 30 of each year. The MDHE will provide forms for such certifications closer to the date they are due.
* Although state-administered grants and scholarships are actually awarded by the MDHE, this provision is intended to apply to all such aid delivered at a participating institution.
** Most state aid programs are limited to U.S. citizens or permanent U.S. residents. Financial aid officers are encouraged to check with the MDHE if they have questions about specific eligibility requirements.