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COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - Missouri education officials plan to expand a scholarship program to some high school students who came to the US illegally before their 16th birthday.

The Missouri Department of Higher Education says those students will be eligible to participate in the A+ program, which gives qualifying students to receive two free years of tuition at a Missouri community college.

The Columbia Daily Tribune reports the program will be opened to students who have applied with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals" status.

That status allows eligibility for work authorization but also makes the population eligible for education benefits because the students would be deemed "lawfully present" in this country.

Bill Thornton, education department attorney, says no timeline has been established for expanding the program.

Information from: Columbia Daily Tribune

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