Tuition Equality: Good for our students, good for our state

The campaign for tuition equality in North Carolina begins today with the launch of Let’s Learn NC. Let’s Learn NC is all about fairness, opportunity and equal access to education. The statewide campaign advocates for the same college tuition for all North Carolina students, because higher education should be equally accessible to all of our state’s young people. Currently, undocumented students are charged out-of-state tuition- which is four times higher than in-state tuition- even if they meet the same academic and residency requirements as other students (including a physical presence in NC for 12 continuous months). Out-of-state tuition rates make higher education a virtual impossibility for many qualified NC students.

One state, one rate: College tuition should be the same for all NC students.
The residency requirement should be applied equally. Higher education should be equally accessible for all of our state’s students. This is about basic fairness and common sense. Right now, a student who moves from Rhode Island a year before graduating high school is eligible for in-state tuition to North Carolina’s community colleges and public universities. Undocumented students are charged out of state tuition- even if they have studied in NC schools from kindergarten until their high school graduation.

When all NC students are allowed to learn, we all win.
Enabling all students to attend college will strengthen our future tax base. Granting equal tuition for NC students to attend state colleges and universities will provide an opportunity to young people who have grown up in North Carolina, and been educated in NC public schools to continue their education while also allowing our state to have access to the long-term economic benefits that these students can provide as a highly educated and bilingual workforce. We must invest in the future of NC and the people who live, work, raise families and pay taxes here. Denying certain NC students in-state tuition is a self-defeating mistake.

These are qualified North Carolina students, ready for college and ready for the workforce.
These are high achieving and highly motivated high school students who have attended elementary and secondary schools in this state for most of their lives and who are likely to remain in the state. According to the law, any student in North Carolina is entitled to a public school education until the 12th grade, meaning that our state has already invested significantly in their education. By allowing our young people to pursue higher education, the state can benefit from students who are bilingual and bicultural and who are able to contribute to the state’s collective productivity and economic growth. Our students want to learn, achieve, and contribute to North Carolina- let’s let them!

This is an economic development issue.
North Carolina’s state and local governments, businesses, and industry are currently recruiting college graduates from outside the state, as well as outside the US, to fill shortages in the fields of business, education, and health services. We can benefit from students who are already here and who have already been educated in the NC school system. All residents must have the opportunity to move up the economic ladder and become self-sufficient engines of the NC economy. Access to our state’s colleges will prepare an educated workforce that will increase the state’s collective productivity and strengthen economic growth.

Find our more and get involved in Let’s Learn N