To comply with a Missouri law passed earlier this year, the University of Missouri is trying to verify the U.S. citizenship, permanent resident status or the lawful presence of every single student in the system. The law is to ensure that no illegal aliens are receiving a public benefit in higher education, said University Registrar, Brenda Selman.
“We have worked with our technical staff and looked into information that we already know about the students that are here and wherever possible identified that they are U.S. citizens or that they are legally present, meaning they are on an appropriate visa or permanent resident status,” she said.
University officials can use a W-2, a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, a university ID, a visa, passport or a driver’s license to confirm residency.
The law was initially supposed to go into effect for the fall semester, but Selman said the timeline between the governor signing the bill and the university’s ability to respond made that impossible.
“The reason we’re working on it at this point is, the students who are enrolled on the university campuses within the University of Missouri system are all beginning their registration for the spring term,” she said. “Currently enrolled students always register a few months ahead of the start of the term so it’s important to at this point we go ahead and verify that information because once a student is registered it’s really impossible to keep them form going to class and that’s why it’s important to do it now as their working on their schedules for the spring.”
Numbers on exactly how many students still need to verify their residency status are not available because everyday a student brings in one of the forms, Selman said.
“By and large we do not have illegal aliens attending or institutions,” she said.
Implementing the verification process has not cost the university any money, but it has taken time away from other work the staff could be doing.