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Latino advocates praise tuition equality legislation

college-campusA bill that would granted in state tuition status to any student who has attended high school in North Carolina for at least three consecutive years immediately prior to graduation is earning the praise of Latino advocates.

Senate Bill 463, introduced by Sen. Fletcher Hartsell (R-Concord) last week, would make higher education  more affordable for undocumented students who have received a high school diploma or a general education diploma (GED) in our state.

“If you’ve worked hard in school, lived here for at least 3 years and graduated from a NC high school, you should qualify for in-state tuition to North Carolina community colleges, public colleges and universities,” said Marco Zárate, President of the NC Society of Hispanic Professionals. “This is about both rewarding students’ hard work and allowing them and all North Carolinians to contribute to the workforce and economic development of our state.”

Members of the Adelante Coalition says beyond benefiting the students the legislation will increases the state’s productivity and strengthen North Carolina’s future tax base.

“Especially with higher education growing increasingly less affordable, improving educational opportunities for all North Carolinians is a win for the students and a win for our state,” said Paul Cuadros of the Scholars Latino Initiative.

“This is not a special privilege afforded to any single group,” said Dr. Robert Landry, the first Latino-born principal and superintendent in NC and multicultural board member of BB&T. “All students must earn their spot at a public college or university. This way, we can all benefit from the investments we’ve made in students who are already here and have already been educated in the North Carolina school system.”

Sixteen states have passed legislation allowing certain undocumented graduates of high school to pay in-state rates for college, according to the Adelante Education Coalition.

SB 463 has been referred to the Senate Rules Committee. You can read more about the bill here.

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