Co-authored by Pablo Friedmann
On Monday, Sept. 9, 2013, we launched the North Carolina "One State, One Rate" campaign. We are calling on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation's first public university, to grant in-state tuition to undocumented students.
Like other undocumented students in North Carolina, I, Emilio, did well in school and was involved in my community. I knew I would be charged the out-of-state tuition rate, without the ability to apply for any federal- or state-based aid. I am able to attend UNC because I was awarded a private scholarship. If it weren't for the generosity of a donor, I would not be here today.
Over the last few years, I, Pablo, have been working as a high school math teacher, counselor and dropout prevention specialist. Through my work, I have met numerous talented students whose dreams of continuing their education are cut short by the sad fact that they will be charged out-of-state tuition, an impossible financial hurdle for their families.
We believe that an inclusive university demands that we give all North Carolinians an equal opportunity to continue their education.
It says a lot when the University of California at Berkeley, University of California at Los Angeles and University of Michigan at Ann Arbor -- three of our four "top public peers" -- all offer in-state tuition to undocumented students.
Seventeen states, including Kansas, Nebraska, Texas and Utah, already offer in-state tuition for undocumented students.
This is an educational issue -- people from across the political spectrum support tuition equality for undocumented students.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush -- both Republicans -- as well as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an Independent, all support tuition equality. It's time the University did the same.
Important student voices at UNC, including The Daily Tar Heel, Campus Y and Student Congress, all support granting in-state tuition to undocumented students.
We believe doing so is not just the correct thing to do but is the Carolina Way. We care for others. We believe in the goodness of people and their ability to persevere.
Let's be on the right side of history and grant in-state tuition to undocumented students. We challenge 1,000 Tar Heels to sign our petition for tuition equality by visiting onestateonerate.org.
This post has been modified and originally appeared in the Daily Tar Heel at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Monday, September 9th 2013.