Community Colleges To Admit Illegal Aliens
Special Report - September 21, 2009
On September 18, the North Carolina Board of Community Colleges approved an amendment to the system’s admissions policy to allow for the admittance of illegal aliens at the out-of-state tuition rate. Lt. Governor Walter Dalton was the lone dissenting vote on the 21-member committee. Public comment was not permitted during the September 17 meeting of the Policy Committee, chaired by Dr. Stuart Fountain, which approved the proposed rule and sent it on for consideration by the full Board Friday. The policy is now subject to the state’s rule-making process, and could be appealed by the General Assembly taking up to a year. The measure states it is effective in April 2010. This is the fourth time the policy on admitting illegal aliens has been amended since 2000. The University of North Carolina system already has a similar policy in place admitting illegal aliens with more stringent stipulations, including academic benchmarks.
The proposed policy defines an “undocumented immigrant” as a person “who is not lawfully present in the United States.” The policy would allow such persons to be admitted under the following conditions:
The applicant must have graduated from a public, private, or home school in the United States.
The applicant may not receive or use financial aid in the form of state or federal grants or loans.
The applicant must pay the out-of-state tuition rate of $7,000, which is approximately five times greater than the in-state rate.
Community colleges are directed to “take into account that federal law prohibits states from granting professional licenses to undocumented immigrants” when considering whether to admit an applicant into specific programs.
Students who prove legal status must receive preference in registering for classes and programs when capacity is met or exceeded.
The current ban on admission of illegal aliens into North Carolina’s community colleges was passed in 2008, when the State Attorney General’s office advised that such admission could violate federal law. Governor Beverly Perdue spoke out during the 2008 gubernatorial campaign and in interviews this week in support of the ban. Perdue pointed out that illegal aliens are prohibited from working in the state of North Carolina, regardless of their level of education.
Opponents of the new policy have expressed particular concern over the dramatic increases in community college enrollment due to the downturn in the economy. More students are attending community colleges for two years to save money on tuition. Displaced workers take individual classes or enroll in full-time programs to hone existing skills or acquire new ones in order to compete for scarce jobs. Most of North Carolina’s 58 campus community colleges have seen historic enrollment figures at a pace of 15 to 20 percent higher than in 2008. To opponents, such high demand among legal citizens of the state makes the admission of illegal aliens an unnecessary encumbrance to North Carolina citizens seeking to take advantage of the educational opportunities afforded by community colleges.
Copyright © 2009. North Carolina Family Policy Council. All rights reserved.