Many dream of being Tar Heel blue

December 26, 2013

The UNC Faculty Council voted Dec. 13 to support a resolution that would allow undocumented students — that is, children of illegal immigrants — to attend North Carolina universities while paying in-state tuition rates.

The resolution is intended to make college “accessible and affordable to all,” according to The (Durham) Herald-Sun.

According to the Herald-Sun, UNC’s tuition and fees for out-of-state undergraduate students reached $30,122 for one academic year. That compares to the in-state tuition and fees total of $8,340. Over the generally accepted and required term of four years, that means $120,488 to $33,360 — a difference of $87,128. And that doesn’t factor in increases approved by legislators.

We applaud the council’s resolution and hope that state lawmakers take up the issue in the next legislative session. However, the resolution doesn’t go nearly far enough if the goal truly is to make college accessible and affordable to those who are in the country legally.

This is not an argument of “they” shouldn’t be allowed “our” rates. This is the argument: if this resolution means increasing individual and community economic prosperity works for those who came from, for example, Guatemala, then it should have a similar result for someone who legally hails from, say, Maryland, South Carolina, Virginia, Ohio or Texas.

The council’s resolution was passed with the help of the N.C. Dream Team — counterparts of which have made successful ventures in 16 other states. But as the months and years pass, college becomes a luxury far too many students are unable to afford — regardless of their immigration status.

So if lawmakers are going to push for something, let them push for something that will really make a difference. Don’t ask N.C. taxpayers to support a subsidy to undocumented students without providing that same support to fellow American students across the country.

There are an awful lot of people who dream of becoming a Tar Heel — not all of them are children of illegal immigrants.