On Monday, a reporter asked Margaret Spellings her thoughts on granting in-state tuition for undocumented students. Spellings seemed to hesitate slightly, replying: “I come from a state that that’s been a long standing policy of the state.” Though prefacing that “obviously the Board of Governors and the legislature need to weigh in on this,” she stated, “I’ve seen it be successful in Texas — in a state with many, many miles of borders.”
When it comes to in-state tuition for undocumented students on this campus, many might think of the issue in terms of activism. For years now, student organizers, professors and experts have been pressing for North Carolina to grant in-state tuition to undocumented students. They have tirelessly worked through many avenues, including the One State One Rate campaign, for which this board has previously expressed its support.
But this admirable campaign has gone on for so long that it has become possible to lose sight of the context of this issue beyond the University or beyond our state’s current climate of divisive politics.
Thanks to pushback from North Carolina lawmakers, it has become easy to forget a few facts: Granting in-state tuition for undocumented students is not innately partisan. It is not innately divisive. In fact, it is not innately controversial.