It wasn’t easy to find much in the way of reporting on yesterday’s State Board of Community Colleges’ Policy Committee meeting discussing the pros and cons of lifting the ban on the admission of illegal immigrants. No report in this morning’s News and Observer, and nothing on WRAL either. A brief segment on WNCN-TV was the only coverage I found.
My guess is many on the Board were pleased. In my view, the Board has been looking for ways to rescind the ban since last August when it said it will “study” the issue. In April, a consultant’s report laid out what it considered the board’s main options. One of the options listed was to admit illegal immigrants but to charge out-of-state tuition (about $7,000), that way the state couldn’t be charged with actually subsidizing the education of illegal immigrants.
According to the few news reports I’ve heard, this looks like the option now favored by the Policy Committee. This isn’t the place to lay out why it’s wrong to reduce this issue to an economic arguement. However even if we do talk costs, there are many reasons why this option is still bad policy. For starters, it is incorrect to saythere is no subsidy. Approximately, 70 percent of the funds NCCCS receives are from state appropriations. State funds are used for such programs as academic and student services, economic and workforce development programs and other programs which support and enrich the entire institution. Only about 13 percent of community college revenue derives from tuition. In addition, the analysis mentioned above also fails to include capital costs. The fact is, local communities are responsible for building and maintaining all community college facilities. To ignore these costs is a slap in the taxpayers’ face.
The full board will meet on Friday, when it will review the recommendations of the policy committee. Interesting, seems to me this issue was taken up about a year ago at the same time. Friday afternoon in the middle of August? You think the Board might be trying to keep this decision off the radar?
If you’re interested in other articles by Civitas Institute staff on illegal immigration in North Carolina, click here.