This story was originally posted by the Kansas City Beacon.
Expanding state financial aid programs, banning COVID-19 vaccine requirements on campus, and restricting racism and sexism classes are just a few of the subjects of the laws. on higher education proposed by the Missouri legislature.
The next legislative session begins on January 5, but representatives and senators are already tabling the bills they will debate in the first months of 2022.
There is no guarantee that any of these bills will be heard in committee, let alone discussed by the entire House or Senate or enacted by Governor Mike Parson. Legislation can also be changed, sometimes dramatically, at several stages of the process.
But we’ve compiled a list of some of the higher education proposals that have already been tabled so you can get a feel for what’s on the minds of lawmakers.
Extending the impact of the Missouri A + scholarship program
Considering the considerable number of invoices, how students pay for college in missouri is one of the most popular subjects in higher education.
Lawmakers from both parties want to change the way the A + scholarship program is administered. The program offers a free community college to Missouri high school graduates who complete 50 hours of mentoring with young students and meet other requirements.
Rep. Brenda Shields, a Republican from St. Joseph, introduced a law (HB 1723) that would allow A + students who have completed an associate’s degree or equivalent without using more than $ 10,000 of A + funds to use the remaining dollars to earn a bachelor’s degree.
For example, a Kansas City-area student who is eligible for the Metropolitan Community College “in-district” tuition rate would pay $ 6,960 in tuition for the 60 credit hours needed for an associate’s degree, plus fees, and therefore could have funding left behind.
Representative Kevin Windham, a Democrat from Hillsdale in St. Louis County, introduced several bills allowing students to receive multiple types of financial aid at the same time.
For example, currently a student may do volunteer work for A + but receive no funding from the program because they will later receive a federal Pell grant to cover their tuition fees.
Windham’s legislation (HB 1786) would either provide students with funding in addition to federal scholarships or (HB 1790) apply A + dollars to tuition fees before other state, private and federal funding.
Extend Access Missouri scholarships
the Access the Missouri Financial Aid Program is available to students whose families may contribute $ 12,000 or less per year, as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
Windham is also proposing to expand the impact of Access Missouri.
Windham introduced a law which remove requirements for Access Missouri scholarships to be reduced (HB 1784) of the amount of any A + scholarship received, increase the number of semesters (HB 1788) a student can receive Access Missouri money and increase the amount of rewards (HB 1787) for the program.
Windham also wants to demand that the state report demographic data (HB 1785) state scholarship holders and prohibit colleges and universities from withholding transcripts (HB 1789) due to unpaid tuition fees.
Non-traditional student and loan bills
Other financial aid laws include a bill sponsored by Senator Lincoln Hough, a Republican from Springfield, to extend the Accelerated Workforce Incentive Grant program for non-traditional students and allow him to cover the learning costs (SB 672).
Senator Bill White, a Republican from Joplin, introduced a bill to expand government loan programs (SB 757) for health care students by increasing both the maximum loan amount and eligible professions.
Finally, Representative Alan Gray, a Black Jack Democrat in St. Louis County, wants to demand that the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education offer a pilot program called Pay Forward, Pay Back (HB 1822).
The program would offer free tuition fees to students in exchange for a binding agreement whereby they repay a percentage of their salary for a specific number of years.
Race and gender
Rep. Ann Kelley, a Republican from Lamar, proposed legislation that would prohibit any public school, including a college or university, from requiring “training or counseling in gender or sexual diversity.” The required training cannot include stereotypes or prejudices about race or gender.
The proposal also would prohibit college and university employees (HB 1484) to include a number of concepts in their lessons, including:
- This race or sex is superior or morally better.
- Whether people are unconsciously racist or biased because of their race or gender.
- Whether the concepts of “meritocracy” or “strong work ethic” are racist or sexist or were created to oppress another race.
- That people should experience psychological distress, such as discomfort, angst, or guilt, because of their race or gender.
Senator Mike Moon, a Republican from Ash Grove, is sponsoring a bill that would ban students who were assigned male at birth from participate in school sports teams for women or girls (SB 781). This would prevent transgender women from playing on female or female sports teams.
The bill would apply to colleges and universities as well as colleges and high schools and would include private schools in competition with public schools.
COVID-19 vaccination requirements
Rep. Nick Schroer, a Republican from O’Fallon, submitted a proposal that would ban any university that receives public funding from requiring COVID-19 vaccination or “gene therapy” (HB 1475) as a condition of admission, employment or being physically present at activities or facilities.
The University of Missouri system, which spans four campuses including the University of Missouri-Kansas City and the University of Missouri-Columbia, recently stopped enforcing a federal vaccine rule that covered faculty, the staff and students. It still requires vaccines for healthcare workers and students who come into contact with patients.
Firearms on college property
Those with the proper permits could bring concealed weapons to public college and university campuses under this proposal from Rep. Chuck Basye, a Republican from Rocheport.
The legislation would allow higher education institutions to implement certain firearms policies, but not if they generally prohibit the carrying, use or storage of concealed firearms on campus. Colleges and Universities could not impose any taxes, fees or contractual arrangements (HB 1751) which prohibit or discourage legal firearms.
Governance of higher education
The council of curators of the UM system and other governing bodies of public universities could add voting student members (HB 1795) under a bill proposed by Windham, the Democrat of Hillsdale.
Currently, a non-voting student representative sits on the Council of Curators. Students at universities in the UM system could vote to start having student conservatives or to keep the system from having non-voting representatives.
Student Trustees would be appointed by the Governor like other Trustees and would have the same powers and responsibilities.
Rep. Mike Haffner, a Republican from Pleasant Hill, sponsored a bill (HB 1874) which tax the endowment from any university affiliated with an abortion center, offers medical residencies or scholarships that provide training in the practice of abortions, or supports institutions where abortions are performed when the mother’s life is not in danger .
Freedom of the press for students
Students would be entitled to freedom of speech and of the press (HB 1668) in school sponsored media as part of a proposal sponsored by Rep. Phil Christofanelli, a Republican from St. Peters.
The proposal would apply to public colleges and universities as well as high schools.
Colleges and universities could still encourage students to use âprofessional standards of English and journalismâ.
Colleges could not sanction students for exercising freedom of expression unless they post libelous or defamatory material, break the law, violate privacy, incite to commit a crime, or are likely to disrupt operations. of the institution.
Media advisers cannot be fired or punished for refusing to violate the rights of students. Schools and employees also cannot be held responsible for school publications unless they have actively participated in the creation of the content.
Currently, student journalists do not have freedom of the press in the school-sponsored media, according to a 1988 Supreme Court case involving a Missouri school district and students from Hazelwood South High School.
Advanced Placement Course Credit
A proposal from Rep. Chris Brown, a Kansas City Republican, require public colleges and universities to provide course credit (HB 1683) to students who score 3 or more on advanced level tests.
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