State News

Community colleges look at lifting ban on illegal immigrants

Posted August 19, 2009

— State officials plan to draft a policy that would allow illegal immigrants who have graduated from a U.S. high school to enroll for classes at one of North Carolina's 58 community colleges.

If approved by the board of the North Carolina Community College System, the policy would reverse a ban that has kept undocumented immigrants from attending two-year colleges statewide for the past year.

College campus, community college generic Bar to enrolling immigrants might be dropped

A board committee that discussed the issue Wednesday also recommended that the policy state that immigrants couldn't bump legal residents from classes or programs.

"We think, in all fairness, that the undocumented immigrant should not displace a student who is legally in this state," committee Chairman Stuart Fountain said.

The committee will review a draft of the policy on Thursday and could send it to the full board for approval. The board isn't expected to vote on the issue at its Friday meeting, however.

The country's third-largest community college system has changed its illegal immigrant admission policy four times since 2000.

A study commissioned by the system said taxpayers wouldn't be affected if immigrants paid out-of-state tuition rates of $7,000 a year.

Because of that financial burden, Fountain said, the system doesn't expect many illegal immigrants to enroll under the proposed policy.

"We do not anticipate that that will be a large population. It will not be a major revenue enhancement," he said.

Federal law requires illegal immigrants to pay out-of-state tuition, but immigrant advocates said they would like the state to challenge the law and allow undocumented people to pay in-state tuition.

"I think we want to give them every opportunity," said Melinda Wiggins of the Adelante Education Coalition, which focuses on education issues affecting Latino and migrant students and their families in North Carolina.

California, Illinois, New Mexico, New York and Texas allow illegal immigrants to enroll at in-state rates, while Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia and Virginia charge out-of-state tuition to those students.


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  • james27613 Aug 21, 2009

    If they want to attend college then they better have the
    proper documents to prove they are here fair and square.

    It is an insult to those that came to the USA by the letter of the law to allow the illegal residents to attend college.

    The financial drain on our state and county budgets will only get worse if this is allowed to happen.

    While it is expensive, I don't mind having to help foot the bills for the children of the illegals for public school education but that is were we must draw the line.

  • validpoint Aug 21, 2009

    "Why is this still an issue. The citizens of NC have voiced their opionions- NO ILLEGALS! What a waste of time and money the state does not have!"

    I totally agree!!

  • darkhorse94 Aug 21, 2009

    It is an injustice to those who applied themselves to obtain legal citizenship in the US, to see this process trample by activists seeking political gain. Illegal anything is a crime hence the word "illegal". If a student can get through a NC high school he or she is capable of applying for legal citizenship to obtain in state tuition. The liberal thinkers seem to repeat that the immigration system is "broken" but they are never forced to explain what that means. The naked truth is that many illegal persons are illiterate to English and Spanish and could not pass the current naturalization tests. We have an naturalization process for those you seek to apply themselves and complete the process, which helps to ensure productive citizens are being allowed to join our union. Everyone else is committing a crime. BORDERS, LANGUAGE, CULTURE MUST BE PRESERVED TO HAVE A PRODUCTIVE NATION! USA

  • jrfergerson Aug 21, 2009

    ILLEGAL persons have no business being in the America without being charged for being here (that monies could be applied to the needed taxes to run this country. If they want to stay charge them X amount of dollars daily for being here - that might eleminate them from sending the monies they make back to their country - let them support America if they want to be here.

  • NC Reader Aug 21, 2009

    Although I am perfectly willing to call adults who come here illegally "illegal aliens," I do not think we should call their children that. They didn't make the choice to disobey our laws. They did absolutely nothing illegal. The fault lies with their parents. "Children of illegal aliens" is a better term.

  • shortcake53 Aug 20, 2009

    If you are NOT legal you are NOT entitled to the benefits of our country. Why is that so hard for some to understand?? Pretty simple to me. Same as if you do NOT have money, you are NOT entitled to take anything from any store you want to.

  • dws Aug 20, 2009

    "Wake up and Smell the Reality! - MakoII

    pffttt, you are the one who needs to QUICKLY wake up, Mako

  • imback Aug 20, 2009

    "Wake up and Smell the Reality! - MakoII

    Yea, you are still avoiding how NAFTA - pushed by a Democratic President - which many economists believe accelerated the illegal immigration problem we have today, fits into your world view that "Conservatives" are responsible for this mess.

  • Made In USA Aug 20, 2009

    You know what's gonna happen NOW if this gets approval? IF and when our economy gets up and running strong again, and housing finally takes off like it did back in the last 90's, illegal entry into the United States will be worse than before. Not only will the come in flocks for the construction jobs, they will come ALSO to go to school. For the past many, many years, Uncle Sam has used MY money to support WTCC, as well as all NC public schools. If you lift the ban, then you will be partly responsible for the flood of illegals crossing our borders in the future.

  • dpehbb Aug 20, 2009

    Help should be offered to the American citizens FIRST and then later in the year if there is any left.......