NCCU supports changes to encourage more to graduate

Posted November 11, 2010

— Graduate more students, or stop admitting so many.

That's the message from the University of North Carolina Board of Governors to each of the university system’s 16 college campuses.

Although a formal proposal – including details on how it would work – hasn’t been approved, the board is in favor of tying funding for new students to performance measures, including schools’ six-year graduation rates.

Eight of North Carolina’s public universities graduate less than half of their students in six years, according to numbers from the UNC system.

That includes North Carolina Central University, which has a 48.3 percent graduation rate over the past five years.

“I don’t see it as a negative,” Chancellor Charlie Nelms said Thursday. “I see it as a positive.”

In recent years, the university has experienced record enrollment.

Nelms says the university has already been working to improve the graduation rate by raising admission standards and building more student housing.

“We know that there’s a strong positive correlation between people living on campus and being retained and graduated,” he said.

The system-wide plan would only improve the graduation rate, he says.

NCCU Chancellor Charlie Nelms NCCU supports proposed UNC requirement

"I'm very comfortable with it, because the idea is consistent with our goal of increasing retention and graduation,” Nelms said.

He says he was initially concerned about the plan, saying that what might work on one campus might not work on another. He says those concerns have been alleviated, and he's now convinced this is the right direction for the system.

"I think it's going to end up with Central and all of the other schools in this system being better places,” he said.

Students agree.

"The job of a university is to graduate students, preferably in four years, so if we're not accomplishing that goal, then that needs to be our absolute focus,” NCCU Student Body Vice President Brian Kennedy said.

NCCU ranks tenth among the public universities’ six-year graduation rates.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill ranks No. 1 with 83.6 percent of student graduating.

The University of North Carolina at Pembroke ranks last with a 35.9 percent graduation rate.

The rankings are as follows:

  1. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – 83.6 percent
  2. North Carolina State University – 69.8 percent
  3. University of North Carolina at Wilmington – 64.3 percent
  4. Appalachian State University – 62.4 percent
  5. East Carolina University – 54.6 percent
  6. University of North Carolina at Asheville – 53.6 percent
  7. North Carolina School of the Arts – 53.6 percent
  8. University of North Carolina at Greensboro
  9. University of North Carolina at Charlotte – 49.3 percent
  10. North Carolina Central University – 48.3 percent
  11. Western Carolina University – 47.4 percent
  12. Elizabeth City State University – 47.3 percent
  13. Winston-Salem State University – 43.8 percent
  14. North Carolina A&T University – 39.7 percent
  15. Fayetteville State University – 37.8 percent
  16. University of North Carolina at Pembroke – 35.9 percent

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  • notagain1903 Nov 12, 2010

    It was clearly a GREAT idea, b/c it helped him win the state, and come 2012 those same students at NC's 16 public institutions will be putting him BACK into office, so DEAL WITH IT!!!
    Lars Marson
    Nice english... Must be one of these school graduates?!?! Stop drinking the koolaid because come 2012 the moving trucks will be backing up to 1600 Penn. Ave. and getting the worst president of our time "OUTTA HERE!!!!!!!!!"

  • issymayake Nov 12, 2010

    Sherlock, most of the for-profit colleges have dismal graduation rates. Those that are non-profit with a robust online learning programs do okay.

    For example, U of Maryland University College graduates about 67% of its entrants; where as U of Phoenix only graduates about 17% of its students.

  • Sherlock Nov 12, 2010

    JUst lower the standards to graduate. More in then out = more money in for the school. If students came to really get an education and not party or protest something and study and professors worked with students and not worry about getting more money maybe just maybe more would graduate. Also has anyone compared the number of indiciduals finishing online colleges to these schools?

  • gingerlynn Nov 12, 2010

    fuzzmom -
    I agree everyone can have a bad semester. But at the NC university my husband teaches at, an incomplete does not factor in as an F as long as the incomplete course is completed within one year. You can withdraw from a course without gpa penalty up to fall break. So if you find yourself failing at the beginning you can withdraw. I am talking about students that eek along with a 1.7 GPA getting C's D's and Fs and never moving up in classification from Freshman to sophomore to junior because enough hours are not complete.

  • issymayake Nov 12, 2010


    The government stepped in to administer loans, because private loan companies were saddling new graduates with so much debt that they are financially crippled despite having earned a degree. The federal loan system is much more flexible in repayment. Believe me, I feel for my brother, who's student loan payment on his undergraduate degree from Wake is basically a mortgage.

    I will give kudos to the feds that they approached this on two fronts, the loan companies and the educational institutions.

  • fuzzmom Nov 12, 2010

    gingerlynn, aside from a medical excuse, I agree with you wholeheartedly. You have to take into account that if a student is out sick (hospitalized), their gpa will suffer, especially if they're given "incompletes", which are factored in as "F"'s.

  • 88gta Nov 12, 2010

    President Obama in no way controls the graduation rates at North Carolina public universities. Not sure why that keeps coming up.

  • issymayake Nov 12, 2010


    The federal government is definitely cracking down on with their Satisfactory Academic Progress policies. Many students are cut off from financial aid if they have too many attempted hours; or their grades are poor.

  • fatchanceimwrong Nov 12, 2010

    How is the gov'ts takeover of the college loan program going to fit with increased admission standards? While the gov't will increase the allocated funds to minorities, the colleges will make it more difficult to get in. If admission standards to universities are increased, what we'll have is a more affluent university system and and community college system with a high minority makeup.

  • Lars Marson Nov 12, 2010

    Notagain1903, you are an baffoon b/c Obama actually campaigned at NCSU, ECU, and UNC @ Chapel Hill. He did not target only HBCU's in 2008, he targeted all of the college campuses in the state of NC. It was clearly a GREAT idea, b/c it helped him win the state, and come 2012 those same students at NC's 16 public institutions will be putting him BACK into office, so DEAL WITH IT!!!