CHAPEL HILL – There’s a case to be made for raising the limit on out-of-state students at some UNC System campuses.
“I’ve supported increasing the cap on out-of-state students in their first year from 18% to 25% for our five Historically Black Colleges and Universities,” UNC System President Peter Hans says in the accompanying video.
Those HBCUs include:
- Elizabeth City State University
- Fayetteville State University
- N.C. A&T State University
- N.C. Central University
- Winston-Salem State University
Since 1986, the UNC System has limited out-of-state enrollment to 18% of each freshman class at its institutions, with limited exceptions at specialized campuses. But a committee of the UNC Board of Governors endorsed the proposed change for the System’s HBCUs,1 and the full board is expected to take it up when it meets April 22.
“We certainly want every North Carolinian to have the ability to attend the UNC System, and that’s not going to change – our commitment there is quite clear,” Hans says.
But the five HBCUs have room to continue to accept North Carolina students while admitting more out-of-state students at the same time, he says.
Out-of-state students pay higher tuition that covers the full cost of their education. And because birth rates declined during the Great Recession, the number of traditional college-age students is projected to decline nationally and flatten in North Carolina at the same time the state has adopted a goal of 2 million North Carolinians with degrees or high-quality credentials by 2030.
Out-of-state students also face higher admission standards.
Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Kimberly van Noort told the Board of Governors committee in February that out-of-state students at the state’s public HBCUs have higher ACT/SAT scores and high-school grade-point averages than in-state students. They also have a 50.5% graduation rate, versus 41.5% for in-state students.
A letter from the chancellors at the public HBCUs notes that a four-year experiment at N.C. A&T with 25% out-of-state enrollment helped A&T become the largest HBCU in the nation, with 12,753 students. A&T increased the number of degrees awarded, and 32% of its out-of-state graduates were working in North Carolina a year after graduation.2
“I think they will enhance those institutions and help secure their financial futures in many ways,” Hans says in the video. “So this is a win-win-win situation for the institutions, the students and the state overall.”