Three Immigrants Sue Missouri Schools for Charging Them Illegally Inflated Tuition

ACLU of Missouri Files Suits in Columbia, Kansas City and St. Louis

Affiliate: ACLU of Missouri
October 14, 2015 9:00 am

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ST. LOUIS – Three students who have had their college or university costs explode this semester filed suits today against the University of Missouri, St. Louis Community College and the Metropolitan Community College in Kansas City. All three students, who are living and working with permission in the United States under the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, are represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri. The ACLU filed three separate lawsuits in Columbia, Kansas City and St. Louis, against the students’ schools, which have illegally inflated their tuition rates.

One of the students dismissed the thought of attending a four-year college because of financial struggles and opted instead to go to St. Louis Community College. “I believed that I would be able to save more money this way to keep expanding my education, but after doing the math I noticed that from what I had already saved I could only afford one semester, maybe two.”

Another student’s mother brought her to the United States when she was 3 years old to join her father who wanted her to have a better life. “In my hometown, there was a lot of violence and drug trafficking. Teens often would get approached to join gangs and drop out of school at an early age.” Before her tuition was increased, she was planning to take nine credit hours at Metropolitan Community College-Penn Valley, so she could juggle school, a full-time job and advocacy work.

“Our Missouri public institutions of higher learning exist to open the doors of opportunity to hard-working students striving to get ahead. Now, there are extreme financial burdens being put on the backs of students already struggling to achieve their goals of higher education,” said Jeffrey A. Mittman, executive director of the ACLU of Missouri. “To punish students who had no say in how they arrived in this country is not only mean-spirited, it is against the law.”

“It is shameful to treat DACA students like outcasts, when they have lived, worked and gone to schools in this country since they were children,” explains Tony Rothert, legal director of the ACLU of Missouri. “Missouri cannot afford to drive talented students away.”

The ACLU of Missouri is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization that defends and expands the constitutional rights and civil liberties of all Missourians guaranteed under the United States and Missouri Constitutions, through its litigation, legislative and public education programs. It is an affiliate of the national ACLU.

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