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North Carolina tuition rules seen as immigration discrimination

In an economy where many say just getting by is a challenge, being unable to afford a college education exacerbates the problem. North Carolina has been accused by some of immigration discrimination because undocumented students who are residents are not offered in-state tuition rates for post-secondary education. One student, recently interviewed, stated that the current system has created an undue hardship for himself and others in similar situations.

The young man, now 20, excelled academically in high school, graduating with a 4.0 grade average. Because he is not a United States citizen, nor is he a legalized resident, he is barred from receiving federal aid and is ineligible for in-state tuition rates even though he has lived in his high school town for 13 years. He claims that the issue of his immigration status keeps him at bay from these privileges.

Out-of-state costs can quadruple tuition expenses, which makes a college degree unattainable for many. Those advocating change in the state have spoken in support of the undocumented students who have risen to the tops of their high school classes, some graduating as valedictorians. These supporters say that it is unfair to create what seems to be in insurmountable obstacle when the students have proved their worth academically and as residents.

A state representative explained that he does not see any active support for proposed change among his colleagues. Some, he said, believe that no financial help should be given to anyone who is undocumented and believe it to be a federal issue in which the state should not get involved. Others claim that this is immigration discrimination. Some legal professionals in North Carolina have publicly stated that undocumented students deserve assistance in becoming legitimate American citizens and benefiting from in-state college tuition fees when they have met the state requirements. A student with questions regarding his or her status has the right to consult a legal team for guidance and support.

Source:, "Immigration status creating barriers for some students", Julie Ball, Feb. 25, 2015

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