Local News

UNC Board Of Governors To Consider Admitting More Out-Of-State Students

Posted October 7, 2003 5:41 a.m. EDT

— A new plan to raise student standards at North Carolina's 16 state universities raises old questions of fairness. Next month, the UNC Board of Governors will consider a proposal to hike the cap on out-of-state students from 18 to 22 percent.

Getting into UNC-system schools like Chapel Hill gets tougher ever year. This fall, UNC rejected 40 percent of in-state freshman applicants. Eighty percent of out-of-staters who applied failed to make the cut. A new proposal would open the door just a little wider for National Merit Scholars from outside North Carolina.

"By doing so, we can create a more geographically varied and more intellectually stimulating environment," said UNC Chancellor James Moeser.

"We cannot sell out the people or our state for more money that comes from out-of-state and out-of-country students," said Rep. Alex Warner, D-Cumberland.

Despite university promises that in-state student enrollment will also increase, Warner, who also chairs the House Education Committee, said adjusting the percentages does not add up.

"I am staunchly opposed to that kind of reasoning. It makes no sense to me whatsoever at the expense of our own state residents," he said.

On the other hand, Gov. Mike Easley supports a moderate change.

"We will be able to make sure we provide everything we need for in-state students. That's the first priority, and at the same time, give them a broader education by meeting people from other places," he said.

Critics like Warner believe the UNC system was founded to educate students from North Carolina's hometowns -- not those with the highest SAT scores from elsewhere.

"We have lost common-sense reasoning between what our responsibilities are for providing higher education for our students," he said.

Warner plans to pursue legislative angles for ways to keep the out-of-state student cap from changing. He said he may try to withhold state funds to get the attention of the university system.