Affordable, but not beneficial enough to the state or accessible enough to students - this was the judgment passed Thursday about higher education in North Carolina by the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education.
The organization released Measuring Up 2000, a report card assessing each state's higher education performance in six categories.
The report graded each state in terms of relative affordability of institutions, the percentage of 18- to 44-year-olds that participates in college, the percentage that completes their educations, how well college students in each state learn, the benefits each state reaps from its higher education institutions and how well each state's students are prepared for college.
North Carolina received a "D" in participation, a "D-plus" in benefits to the state, a "B" in student preparation, a "B-plus" in completion, an "A" in affordability and an "incomplete" in learning.
All 50 states received incompletes in the learning category because they did not have necessary data available.
All two- and four-year institutions - both public and private - were included in the report.
The report noted that the small percentage of North Carolinians with bachelor's degrees impairs the state's economy, resulting in a low grade in the category of benefits to the state.
UNC Association of Student Governments President Andrew Payne said that despite the low benefits grade, the UNC system is still a key component of the state's economy.