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UNC Considering In-State Tuition for Illegal Immigrants

Posted December 7, 2007

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— The University of North Carolina system is considering whether to offer undocumented immigrants in-state tuition at its 16 university campuses.

In-state tuition ranges from $1,500 to $3,700 while out-of-state students pay $10,000 to $20,000.

System President Erskine Bowles said that illegal immigrants already are in the state and that creating another permanent underclass is not the right thing to do.

Joni Worthington, vice president for communications for the UNC system, said officials have agreed only to research the issue and have not taken a position for or against it.

A 28-member commission of business, community and academic leaders is studying the idea's costs and benefits.

Undocumented students make up a small percentage of the university system. At UNC-Chapel Hill, for example, there are four. All are on financial aid – none of it state or federal.

Chancellor James Moeser supports their success, saying, "it's in the interest of the state to educate all of the people who live here to their highest potential."

"They are honor students. In some cases, they are valedictorian(s) of our high schools," Moeser said. "Are we going to deprive this intellectual talent?"

Others are speaking out about the concept, saying the issue is not about money, but about setting a precedent.

"I think it would seriously erode their support amongst the taxpayers, the citizens," state House Minority Leader Paul Stamm, R-Wake, said. "We can't educate the entire world."

Stamm said the UNC system received more than a 15 percent increase in its budget last year. Changes like the one being researched could mean wavering support from some legislators, he said.

"It has to do with the responsibilities of North Carolina taxpayers to provide an appropriate education for the citizens of North Carolina," he said.

Last week, a controversy erupted over a new policy that mandates all state community colleges admit students regardless of their immigration status.

Policy opponents include all five candidates for North Carolina governor.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • wakecountyvoter Dec 9, 2007

    If someone breaks into your house and steals your identity, posessions, money, etc, all in the name of their ability to feed their family back home in another country, is that legal? Based on what is being proposed, yes it is. Therefore there are no laws in this country that can be upheld by the judicial system. Therefore we have no nation, because nations are built on laws. What we will have is anarchy. It would be interesting if all American citizens currently sentenced to prison would sue based on descrimination -- that they are American citizens and being held to a higher standard than people who are illegally in this country.

  • Hexzero Dec 9, 2007


    Did you actually attend school? Guess what happens when you subtract the illegal aliens from the economy and the workforce? It is not a black and white situation. While I do not agree with our current policy, simply getting rid of them will be devastating to the local economy as well as our overall economy. Open up your eyes to the big picture instead of closed world you live in.

  • RalNCSUBoy Dec 9, 2007

    Imback, I think it's cute how you're trying so hard to be witty on here, but it's really not working for you. How about posting a well thought-out and intelligent response on here instead of nit-picking on the most minor details of my comments. Or is that too much for you? Show some maturity and quit trying to pick a fight on here that you're obviously not winning. As for going back to my studies, I already have degrees from UNC and State, and I work a full-time job now. Nice try, though.

  • Timbo Dec 9, 2007

    Yet another academician living in lala land willing to make policy where they have no business making policy.

  • imback Dec 9, 2007

    "Should they be denied (or are they denied; I don't know) a chance to qualify for in-state tuition?"

    If you have to ask, maybe its time to go back to your studies.

  • wbearp Dec 9, 2007

    Sharing a single family home with 15 of your relatives, $25 per month. Income Tax, Property Tax, Social Security, Health Insurance, $0 Sneaking into the US in the back of a melon truck, and attending the State University of your choice as a resident, along with all other social programs, PRICELESS!

  • RalNCSUBoy Dec 9, 2007

    I'm not trying to protect anyone. Everyone is assuming I'm supporting this proposal, although my feelings on it would actually surprise you. What I'm responding to are some of the knee-jerk reactions of some of the people whom have commented. If this proposal does ever pass, I just don't see many illegal immigrants wanting to actually take advantage of it. Most come to this coutnry to work to support familes here and back home. Besides not having the credentials to actually get into a university here, why would they want to take 4 years out to not work and attend school? That mode of thinking is not ingrained in them and they probably will pass that work mentality on to their children. But what about the ones who have children born here (the anchor babies)? Technically, those kids will be US citizens who WILL be able to work in this country. Should they be denied (or are they denied; I don't know) a chance to qualify for in-state tuition? It's a catch-22 situation.

  • wbearp Dec 9, 2007

    Ernie B. could never get elected to public office, and this is an example of why!

  • RalNCSUBoy Dec 9, 2007

    Xteacher, if that's the best reply you can come up with, then your name says it all. I really hope XTeacher means you no longer teach in our schools. Bet I don't pay taxes? My paycheck every other week begs to differ. Also, please point out where I called anyone a racist. Try being a little bit more mature in your responses before you ask others to do the same.

  • NoToIllegals Dec 9, 2007

    NCSUBOY, boy says it all.

    Bet you do not pay taxes.

    Wait till you have kids of your own and your hard earned money pays for others' kids.

    Then come back and tell US we are racist.

    GROW UP and then play with the adults.