CHARLOTTE, North Carolina – A change in admission policy allows immigrants protected under Temporary Protected Status in North Carolina to be able to pay in-state tuition at public colleges and universities.
The measure will apply to the semester beginning in January because of a decision by the State Permanent Committee, an independent entity set up by the Board of Governors.
Megen Hoenk, spokesperson for the North Carolina Community College System, said in a statement to Efe that the measure extends to those 58 institutions and the North Carolina University System.
“However, those who have TPS still must comply with the eligibility criteria for in-state registration that applies to all students,” Hoenk said.
Jack Holtzman, an attorney for the NC Justice Center, told Efe on Tuesday that the organization filed an administrative suit in 2011 in the name of a student who benefited from TPS who was being charged foreign-student tuition at UNC.
Annual tuition for an international student at UNC is $28,446, compared with $7,694 for a state resident.
“The families with TPS are legal residents of North Carolina who pay taxes like anybody else and should have access to higher education for their children,” Holtzman said.
TPS is a temporary protective measure authorized in 1999 for Hondurans and Nicaraguans living in the country due to the devastation brought to the region by Hurricane Mitch and extended to Salvadorans in 2001 due to the earthquakes in January and February of that year.
Immigrants with TPS obtain a Social Security card and a work permit.
Ana Miriam Carpio Vazquez, the executive director of the Union Salvadoreña in Charlotte, said that the news is not only good for the thousands of young people with TPS in the state but also for their parents.
Many adult TPS holders, she said, “have not been able to take English courses at these educational centers or pursue technical careers because of the halt in registration, and now that they have the chance, it will be an achievement and an advancement for our community.”
It is not known how many immigrants with TPS will be able to benefit from the policy change in North Carolina. EFE