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New bill would equalize college tuition for every NC resident

Posted April 8, 2015

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— A new Senate bill could equalize the cost of college for every North Carolina resident, regardless of citizenship status.

Senate Bill 463, filed by Sen. Fletcher Hartsell, R-Cabarrus, would allow an individual who has attended school in North Carolina for at least three consecutive years immediately prior to graduation and received a high school diploma or a GED in the state to pay in-state tuition at University of North Carolina system schools.

Keny Murillo was the valedictorian of his high school class, but because he is from Honduras, he always knew college would be costly.

"(I was) graduating and knowing that I wasn't going to go anywhere for college," Murillo said. "The reason being is because I have to pay out-of-state tuition for college, which can be three to four times the cost."

Murillo moved to North Carolina when he was 9 years old.

"I started one or two jobs, but I was working three jobs at a time, and I enrolled at Durham Tech and Wake Tech," he said.

Murillo said he was able to afford the tuition at a community college, but he knew it would be impossible to afford the cost of a four-year institution.

Pilar Rocha-Goldberg, president and CEO of El Centro Hispano, a group dedicated to strengthening the Hispanic community, said it is important for Latino students to be able to attend college.

"Not only Latinos, but the minorities in general," she said.

Murillo said his goal is to stay in North Carolina to practice medicine.

"I want to make a difference in my community, and that's what I want to do," Murillo said. "I grew up here, and I'm not planning on leaving."

Similar legislation has not been successful in the past. Senate Bill 463 is the latest in a series of attempts from lawmakers to pass the measure.

“We’re not there yet,” said Senate Rules Chairman Tom Apodaca, R-Henderson, whose committee has jurisdiction over the bill right now. “We haven’t discussed it yet, but I don’t see it going anywhere.”

Sen. Majority Leader Harry Brown, R-Onslow, said Senate Republicans had not discussed whether they would take up the bill or not.

18 Comments

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  • Arch Maker Apr 9, 2015
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    Now you are changing the subject. You said he should do it the legal way. I just showed you that there was no possible legal way.

    Which brings me back to my original post: "Perhaps this is the problem with our immigration debate. There are people that actually think this kid had the possibility through our existing laws to ever become a legal citizen."

  • Terry Watts Apr 9, 2015
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    "One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws."

  • Collin McLoud Apr 9, 2015
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    So we should make exceptions for those that don't follow the law? That's a great idea.

  • Terry Watts Apr 9, 2015
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    Bravo!

  • Arch Maker Apr 9, 2015
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    Really?
    Can he get family-based immigration? He has no parent, spouse, or sibling to sponsor him - so no.
    Can he get employment-based immigration? He doesn't (yet) have "extraordinary ability" or "an advanced degree" or have $1M to invest in a business - so no.
    Can he get refugee or asylum based immigration? Maybe you could make a case that he could be one of 350 Hondurans per year who would even be considered had he still been in the country, so no.
    How about the Diversity-based immigration where people of countries that don't have a lot of immigrants get preferential treatment. well, no he's Latino so that would never happen...
    Oh well, maybe you think he could get in through the "Humanitarian Relief" based immigration? Well, don't think so.

    So tell me again how he could have ever made it through the legal process?

  • Sam Adams Apr 9, 2015
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    Certainly, but obviously we are not talking about those who are here either on a Green Card or on a F-1 student visa. This bill is aimed at those who are here illegally, plain and simple.

  • Chris Vet Apr 9, 2015
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    One can be a legal student in the US without being a US citizen.

  • Collin McLoud Apr 9, 2015
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    He can IF he follows the proper procedures and spelled out by law. Almost 650,000 did in 2014. He's no exception.

  • Arch Maker Apr 9, 2015
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    Perhaps this is the problem with our immigration debate. There are people that actually think this kid had the possibility through our existing laws to ever become a legal citizen.

  • Kristin Byrne Apr 9, 2015
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    Sounds similar to what happened to me. I attended NCSU as an out-of-state student from 1999-2002. I took a short break from school in order to work to earn money to finish paying for my education. I had gotten a NCDL in January 2001, had been working in NC since December 2000, and had gotten my own apartment in Raleigh. I attended Wake Tech from 2003-2004 (finishing my required classes for MUCH less $$$) and was considered an in-state student. When I went back to NCSU, they denied my in-state student application, and I had to appeal. I eventually won, but it was still a pain nonetheless. At the point of my appeal, I had spent the equivalent of 2 weeks in NY, and no longer had much family there.

    If I could go through the right channels to get in-state tuition, why can't other people?

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