State News

UNC weighs more out-of-staters at minority schools

Posted September 12, 2013

— Supervisors of North Carolina's state university system are discussing whether to counter falling enrollment at six campuses that historically served primarily black and Native American students by allowing them to recruit more students from outside the state.

The University of North Carolina's Board of Governors on Thursday heard a staff recommendation to allow up to 30 percent of newly enrolled students at the six schools to come from outside the state. Enrollment of non-North Carolina freshmen is now limited to 18 percent at the public universities. A year ago, 14 percent of the nearly 32,000 new freshmen were from out-of- state.

The discussion came two days after UNC President Tom Ross warned faculty and staff at Elizabeth City State University of "hard decisions" ahead as the school faces a $5 million budget shortfall this year. Enrollment fell to under 2,900, costing the school about $1.5 million, UNC budget figures showed.

ECSU's enrollment this fall slid to just over 2,400 students, Interim Chancellor Charles Becton said.

ECSU, Fayetteville State University, North Carolina A&T State University, North Carolina Central University, Winston-Salem State University and UNC-Pembroke all saw revenues from enrollment and related state funding drop by more than $1 million last year, university officials said. All but N.C. Central projected further drops this year.

All were established to train black students except UNC-Pembroke, which was created to serve nearby Native American residents.

A decision is months away on the proposed five-year experiment to raise non-resident enrollment. The proposal includes keeping constant the number of North Carolina students as the campuses try to rebuild enrollment with more out-of-staters. Besides filling empty classroom seats and stabilizing campus budgets, the campuses would become more efficient as measured by spending per degree earned, said Jonathan Pruitt, a UNC system vice president for finance.

Another advantage is that almost half the out-of-state students who attend the six campuses stay in North Carolina after graduation, boosting the economy, Ross said.

"There is an economic benefit to North Carolina by attracting talent that stays here," he said.

The extra revenue generated by attracting more non-resident students and charging them higher out-of-state rates wouldn't generate loads of extra money for individual campuses, Ross said. The revenue goes to the state's treasury, with some of the money coming back to the university to match teaching costs, he said.

Undergraduate tuition at Elizabeth City State this year is $2,776, while non-residents pay $13,633. At UNC-Pembroke, where only 3 percent of new undergraduates are from outside North Carolina, resident undergraduates pay $3,211 for tuition, while non-residents pay $12,418.

Previous discussions of expanding out-of-state enrollment have been criticized by both the public and political leaders, and the board's discussion Thursday showed any decision can't squeeze out opportunities for resident students to enroll.

"We've got a lot of people that's moved into this state. We've got a lot of capacity that's here with kids that want to go to school," Frank Grainger of Cary said. "We've got to fill up our universities with North Carolina students as much as we can."

North Carolina A&T Chancellor Harold Martin said the campuses can serve both in-state and out-of-state students without problem.

"We can meet the needs of North Carolina students coming out of high school who are prepared to enter the University of North Carolina for enrollment purposes. This also provides the opportunity for institutions like ours to expand the enrollment growth," Martin said.

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  • gingerlynn Sep 13, 2013

    moonpie,
    you get what you pay for. That expensive degree from NCSU will garner a much higher salary and/or admission into a graduate program than that degree from ECSU. My husband (phD) and I (MBA)are both NCSTATE alum and are doing fine.

  • Pirate01 Sep 13, 2013

    "These "racist schools" were established at a time when the white "racist schools" would not allow blacks to enroll. And they have become thriving universities that turn out some of the best lawyers, doctors, and engineers in the state. You obviously did not attend one of these "racist schools" and don't know the history of their existence!! A PROUD graduate of a HBCU!!
    2kidz1hub"

    But that is history and they are now a drain on the more productive schools. You obviously did not read the story if you think they are "thriving".

  • Pirate01 Sep 13, 2013

    It is time to shut down these intentionally racist and segregated schools. It is costing the taxpayers 100's of millions that could be used for the growing and more productive Universities and Community Colleges.

  • bill0 Sep 13, 2013

    This seems like a really simple math problem. If there are not at least enough NC applicants to fill 85% of the available seats, then the schools should be allowed to admit enough out-of-staters to fill those seats.

  • moonpie Sep 13, 2013

    "Undergraduate tuition at Elizabeth City State this year is $2,776"

    I sure wish tuition at NC State was $2,776 this year..... :(

  • sww Sep 13, 2013

    Do more out of state students apply to these schools than they can take? Changing the percentage will only work if there are actual out of state students to fill that change.

  • 2kidz1hub Sep 13, 2013

    "The real question ought to be why these racist schools are still allowed to operate."

    These "racist schools" were established at a time when the white "racist schools" would not allow blacks to enroll. And they have become thriving universities that turn out some of the best lawyers, doctors, and engineers in the state. You obviously did not attend one of these "racist schools" and don't know the history of their existence!! A PROUD graduate of a HBCU!!

  • issymayake Sep 12, 2013

    "The real question ought to be why these racist schools are still allowed to operate."--whatelseisnew

    What on Earth are you talking about?
    jason19

    I guess according to him, blacks and Native Americans aren't supposed to have any institutions to cherish and/or thrive. All the while the University of Alabama Pan-Hellenic sorority alumni work to reject black women from membership.

    Yep racism is dead, folks. Nothing to see here.

  • issymayake Sep 12, 2013

    Maybe they should not consider race to enter those schools. If segregation is illegal and other schools have to have quotas, then why do they not have to maintain the same quotas at all schools. If the population is 70% Caucasian, then how is there a primarily black school in the public (tax payer funded) system
    A person

    The absolutely hilarious thing is. . . the HBCUs and Pembroke State never have considered race as an admission factor. Unlike a high school, people choose the college they wish to attend. It can't become '70% Caucasian' unless more Caucasians decide to enroll. West Virginia State University and Bluefield State is two such examples where white students outnumber minority students at a minority serving institution. WVSU is 61% white and Bluefield is 81% white.

    Now back on topic.

  • jason19 Sep 12, 2013

    "The real question ought to be why these racist schools are still allowed to operate."--whatelseisnew

    What on Earth are you talking about?

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