“We do make financial aid a priority here,” Stephen Farmer, the University’s Vice Chancellor for Enrollment and Undergraduate Admissions, says in the accompanying video.
“… Financial aid allows the University to stock itself with talent. The other reason is that we’re a public school, a public place, and a public place shouldn’t be off-limits to people who can’t afford to pay.”
Remarkably – especially for a public school – UNC Chapel Hill has marshaled the resources to keep average student debt, when adjusted for inflation, at the same level it was 15 years ago.2
On average, the 35-40% of graduates who left Carolina with debt last year carried about $20,000 in loans – a level Farmer contrasts with the average new car loan of $30,000. The car lasts four years, he says, while the education lasts a lifetime.
“All the evidence suggests still that a college education is a great investment. Going to school, working hard, getting a degree really is the way to prosperity in this country still. And that’s more the case now than it was 20 years ago, more the case now than it was 40 years ago,” he says.
But accumulating the dollars to meet the needs of 20,000 students doesn’t happen by accident.
“There are things we’ve given up so that we can do this thing,” Farmer says. “And we do this thing because it’s at the heart of who we are.”