As the school year begins, North Carolina community colleges have record enrollment numbers. A proposed policy change could mean the classrooms will get even more crowded in the near future.
North Carolina community college leaders are considering lifting a ban on illegal immigrants at community colleges.
It’s not the first time this has been discussed and students seem as divided over the issue as the state board.
The Policy Committee for the State Board of Community Colleges voted to ban illegal immigrants from the classroom last year. Since 2000 the board has changed the policy four times
“This issue has been going back and forth at the state level for several years. We’ll be following the rules, whatever they may be, whenever the decision is made,” said CFCC spokesperson David Hardin.
One reason there may be so much back and forth, it’s a polarizing issue, and it’s always a close vote.
Now, the board is considering changes that would allow immigrants to attend the local colleges with some restrictions. All undocumented residents would need a diploma from a U.S. high school. The students would have to pay out-of-state tuition regardless of how long they’ve lived in North Carolina, and they would register for classes after legal residents.
But at local community colleges, finding the space for the additional students is cause for concern. “It’s not only true at Cape Fear Community College, but all around the state, is that community colleges are overburdened with students,” Hardin said.
About 90 percent of classes at CFCC are at capacity thanks to record enrollment
While community colleges are already struggling to accommodate students, current students say they’re not necessarily opposed to admitting undocumented students.
“It really doesn’t matter, they’re here to work, they’re trying to make a life for themselves,” Shannon Green said.
As long as it doesn’t cost legal residents a spot in the classroom. “Especially at this school right now there are so many students that are legal citizens of the us that can’t get in here. It would seem kind of pointless,” said Nick Chambers.