The state’s higher education leaders said Friday that years of rapid enrollment need to slow down to help schools better deal with the growth.
Years of focusing on expanding enrollment across the system may have gone too far and caused schools to grow faster than their ability to serve students adequately, said UNC-system Board of Governors Chairwoman Hannah Gage.
The expansion has come at the cost of freshman retention and graduation rates, President Erskine Bowles said.
Enrollment growth may need to level off at some campuses to give them time to adjust to serving an already expanded student body, Bowles said.
To reflect this policy shift, an emphasis will be placed on encouraging low-performing students to consider two years at a community college first and raising admission requirements at universities.
Much of the funding the system receives from the N.C. General Assembly is tied to enrollment growth, which provided the main incentive for schools to expand rapidly in the past.
Now, the incentive needs to change to accommodate the shifting priorities, Gage said.
“The incentives work. We’re just moving the carrot,” she said.
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