MEDIA RELEASE: Tuition equity bill would improve educational opportunities, future growth for North Carolina

RALEIGH (March 31, 2015) – Pro-education groups, along with their allies, applaud the NC General Assembly’s introduction of a bill last week that would increase educational opportunities for all North Carolinians.

Senate Bill 463, introduced by Sen. Fletcher Hartsell (R-Concord) with bipartisan support, calls for any individual who has attended school in North Carolina for at least three consecutive years immediately prior to graduation and has received a high school diploma or a general education diploma (GED) in North Carolina be granted resident tuition status.   

The bill, experts say, would help North Carolina’s workforce compete for 21st century jobs. North Carolina’s state and local governments, business, 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.

“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.”

Access to our state’s colleges will prepare an educated workforce that will increase the state’s collective productivity and strengthen economic growth. Enabling all students to attend college with also 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.

"I think that this is a great step forward. Now that we actually have a bill that has been introduced I hope students who will benefit will join the fight in helping the bill become a reality. I am really excited because we have been working on this for a very long time and if passed it would be more affordable for me to finish school,” said Jessica Contreras, a first-year student at Central Piedmont Community College.

“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.”

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