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University Denies In-State Tuition Status to Veteran — Still Considering It for Illegals

UNC denies in state tuition for veteran-considering it for illegals
(Photo by Jeffrey A. Camarati/Getty Images)

The University of North Carolina is known for its basketball program, now it could be known for allegedly discriminating against military veterans.

The school’s branch campus, UNC Pembroke (near Fort Bragg) denied a request by a discharged U.S. veteran to pay in-state tuition, but is currently considering offering in-state tuition breaks to illegals – even if they are from out of state.

If you’re not familiar with the ‘In-state tuition” distinction, students who attend a college or university in the state where they live are charged cheaper tuition. U.S. Army Sgt. Hayleigh Perez, who was honorably discharged in 2009 after serving active duty in Iraq, had continued to pay her mortgage and maintain her North Carolina residence even after being assigned to an out-of-state base along with her husband, also a soldier.

However, the university told her because she was gone for three years, she did not meet the requirements for in-state tuition breaks. The G.I. Bill she hoped to use does not cover out-of-state tuition and must be utilized at a school in the state where the soldier or veteran resides.

Despite her and her husband paying the mortgage and taxes to maintain their North Carolina residence, the UNC Pembroke chancellor told her because she had not paid income tax in the state she was not considered a resident.

Sgt. Jason Thigpen, founder and president of the Student Veterans Advocacy Group, had this to say about the matter:

“In North Carolina alone there are more than 5,000 student veterans facing such hardship, while the state [may grant] in-state residency for tuition purposes to illegal immigrants… That’s not the deal we signed up for when joining the military, and surely isn’t what was intended in the 1940s when [the G.I. Bill program] began.”

The SVAG helped draft a petition with over 120,000 signatures protesting the actions of UNC, and lobbied for Perez to be allowed to enroll, but she has already signed on with a private university, using her own money.   Her final take on the matter?

“I’m now attending a private college; I don’t want to be associated with an institution that treats veterans this way.”

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