Members of North Carolina’s State Board of Community Colleges voted to allow undocumented students to admitted to degree programs at the state’s 58 community college campuses- . This vote comes following a 16-month period where undocumented students were denied admission while the State Board debated the issue. With today’s vote, admitted undocumented students will be required to pay out-of-state tuition ($7,700 per year), will not be eligible to receive financial aid, and will not be allowed to enroll in classes until all students who are legal residents have been registered. 

Given these conditions, it is highly unlikely that North Carolina’s community colleges will enroll many undocumented students. Nevertheless, protesters were very unhappy with the State Board’s decision to not totally ban admissions to undocumented students. Since the new policy will all but assures that most undocumented students will not be able to attend a North Carolina community college, and prevents even the slightest possibility that an undocumented student’s unlikely enrollment would adversely affect a legal resident, any discontentment with the State Board’s decision is ideological. Protesters wanted the Board to turn away undocumented students, not because of any harm that their enrollment would bring to legal residents, but simply because they are undocumented students. Let’s call a spade a spade. Given the new policy, very few if any of these students will be able to enroll in North Carolina community colleges, and the ones that do will be virtually undetectable. Any opposition to the Board’s decision is ideological; not because undocumented community college students in North Carolina threaten the economic well-being of legal residents in North Carolinians. I’m sorry, but they don’t.

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