AG: No in-state tuition for undocumented students

Posted January 23, 2014

Hundreds of immigrants joined local and state leaders, as well as members of North Carolina's congressional delegation – Reps. David Price and G.K. Butterfield – at Durham's Immaculate Conception Catholic Church on Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013, for dialog on the matter.

— Students who arrived in the United States illegally cannot get in-state tuition in North Carolina community colleges or universities, even if they have been granted "deferred action" status by the federal government, according to a letter from the North Carolina Department of Justice released Thursday. 

Last summer, the federal government announced that certain individuals who came to the United States illegally when they were small children would be able to work toward citizenship. To qualify for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, participants must be under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012, and meet other qualifications.  

Rep. Marcus Brandon, D-Guilford, wrote to Attorney General Roy Cooper asking if those students would qualify for in-state tuition benefits, particularly if they had graduated from North Carolina high schools. In-state tuition is thousands of dollars cheaper per year than tuition charged to students from other states.

Replying to Brandon's letter, special deputy attorneys general Alexander Peters and Kimberly Potter wrote that state law prohibits extending in-state benefits to DACA students

"We agree with University and Community College attorneys that North Carolina law does not provide for in-state tuition for these students. In order for students who have been granted DACA status to be eligible for the benefit of in-state tuition, the North Carolina General Assembly would have to amend (North Carolina state law) to make an exception for such individuals, change the residency requirements, or otherwise provide by law that individuals with DACA classification are, under such circumstances as may be set by statute, eligible for in-state tuition," Peters and Potter wrote.

The N.C. Dream Team, a group of undocumented young adults pushing for changes in state and federal policy, responded to the letter by lashing out at Cooper, saying that he has "thrown immigrant students under the bus."


This blog post is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • will73 Jan 26, 2014

    Students that come here legally have to pay out of state tuition. Why would we give those that brake the law in state tuition. If anyone should get a brake it should by the ones that respect the laws of our state and nation.

  • beachlvr0804 Jan 25, 2014

    Simple logic.....follow the rules. Come here through the legal process and stop wanting a tuition rates that even legal US out-of-state students aren't allowed. No more skirting the rules.

  • sunshine1040 Jan 25, 2014

    How can you be a legal resident of the state if you are not even a legal resident of the country? Right ruling was made

  • readme Jan 24, 2014

    Great news out of NC!

  • ALECarolina Jan 24, 2014

    It's hilarious to read these comments and get a sense of the pickle the bleeding heart conservatives find themselves in.

    On the one hand, they're cheering that headline "AG: No in-state tuition for undocumented students"......but it's KILLIN' 'em that the "librul dem" Roy Cooper is AG!

    Ya'll can relax.....Roy Cooper didn't make this decision personally, he's just doing what NC law says he must. Would it make you happy if the NCGOP hired their favorite conservative hack lawyer to defend this like they did their Voter ID law, "because we can't trust Roy Cooper to defend our laws"....?

    Funny how that woks, huh?

    Ya'll are gonna be in a real jam in about ten years, when all those now-illegal immigrants that Thom Tillis and the NCGOP just gave amnesty to become legal voters who vote for democrats.......remember now, don't blame the "libruls", we didn't do it.

    Laughing at you in advance, The NC Democratic Party.

  • ALECarolina Jan 24, 2014

    All you bleeding heart conservatives who oppose illegal immigration should take the time to write Thom Tillis a thank-you note for pushing legislation that ignores our immigration laws and makes it easier for his supporters to hire more illegal immigrants, and allow them to stay longer so they can send even MORE money back to their home country's economy.

    And before you blast Obama and the "dems" for the imaginary problem of illegal immigrants voting for democrats, we'll remind you of all those VIVA BUSH signs back in 2004.....and the now-legal voters that Reagan gave amnesty to back when republicans weren't NEARLY as "severely conservative" as they are today.

    If ya'll hadn't gave 'em amnesty so you could exploit them for cheap labor, they wouldn't be here today voting for democrats. Truth hurts, don't it?

    Ya'll could make a cow laugh.....

  • dbmstuff Jan 24, 2014

    My view is ... illegal, no in-state tuition period. Period. If we want to solve our problems we can't keep providing incentives for people to break more laws. More importantly giving $$ here takes away from legal citizen and other who deserve it more. I feel very sorry for the child who had no say .. but parents and immigrants need to know .... no free ride when u come here. Frankly, you should say home and build/contribute to your own country and now ours. We conveniently forget that illegal immigrants are hurting their own countries when they leave.

  • Rebelyell55 Jan 24, 2014

    Wonder if any of the "think" tanks and survey that are around have come up with the number of these "young" Latino who can't get documentation under the guildlines? I'm all for getting them documented, it one of the first steps that need to be taken. The problem is, that there is no "forced" documentation be taken. I'm an American citizen, and as other American citizens we are being "forced" to be documented to an extent. The State and Feds know my Banking account and my Employer. The local goverment know my Employer (and most likely my Bank account also). They all know my SS# and most likely some other things about me. Yep, I think it's about time we know who these folks are, where they are and what they're doing in our country, I mean, it's only fair right? This is why it'll never happen, they're actually better off and more than happy to pay only sales tax.

  • whatelseisnew Jan 24, 2014

    "The N.C. Dream Team, a group of undocumented young adults pushing for changes in state and federal policy, responded to the letter by lashing out at Cooper, saying that he has "thrown immigrant students under the bus.""

    Hey dream team, these are NOT immigrants, these are people that are here illegally and they should be immediately removed from the country.

  • stymieindurham Jan 24, 2014

    Let me see. Illegal Immigrant should get In-state tuition while out of state citizen should not? And there's logic in there somewhere?????????