House democrats launch bills to help college students

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JEFFERSON CITY- Missouri House Democrats Monday announce bills aimed at improving higher education. 

Members of the House Minority Caucus sponsored six bills, announced at an afternoon news conference.

Rep. Crystal Quade, the Minority leader, said students are continuing to struggle to get an education.

"Over the past years, state government has erected barriers that has made higher education inaccessible and unaffordable to so many.," she said. "Many of those barriers are financial for nearly two decades of neglect in the state budget.

Rep. Kip Kendrick, D-Columbia, is sponsoring a student loan financing bill, saying it allows Missourians to "refinance and consolidate student loans into an easier payment plan."

He said it's important the plan is "based on their income to make sure students are not maxed out completely every month."

Rep. Kevin Windham, D-Hillsdale, is sponsoring a bill to allow students who are eligible for the A+ Scholarship Program to receive the program benefits.

"Currently there are about 2000 students who qualify for A + funding, but do not receive that funding," he said.

Other bills included would:

  • Repeal an existing state law that doesn't allow students are are not U.S. legal residents from receiving scholarships and financial aid.
  • Create the Missouri Tuition Equity Act, which would requires state-funded colleges and universities to consider giving Missouri residency to students who have lived in the state for two years and graduated from a Missouri high school.
  • Make it so public institutions have a designated person from each student organization to report on domestic violence or sexual assault issues.