For years, the UNC-system Board of Governors had indicated that increasing enrollment is the number one priority for system schools.
But recent data indicate that some schools within the system have graduation and retention rates well below their peers.
We’re glad that the board is now focusing on increasing overall educational quality.
Pending approval by the N.C. General Assembly, state funding will soon be partially tied to freshmen retention and six-year graduation rates.
No doubt, the mission of UNC-system schools is to serve the people of North Carolina.
But schools also have a mission to provide for their own students, ensuring each is able to thrive academically.
It’s a fine balance that has tipped too far toward inefficiency.
The board’s proposed funding scheme is tied to results. This provides an incentive for schools to focus on educational quality. Schools would receive funding for academic performance and retention rates, not for simply enrolling more students.
To offset admittance difficulties, educational administrators will encourage students who are unprepared for four-year universities to enroll in community college.
Community colleges are often a viable option for these students and several programs make it easy to transfer to a four-year university as a junior.
For instance, UNC-Chapel Hill partners with Alamance Community College, Durham Technical Community College and Wake Technical Community College to provide scholarships and guaranteed admission to high-achieving, qualified students who have completed an associate degree at one of these colleges.
And these types of programs work.
Transfer students from Durham Technical Community College perform better on average at UNC-Chapel Hill as juniors than students who enrolled in the University as freshmen.
The Board of Governors is right to shift its focus for UNC-system schools. Quantity does not always translate into quality.
And now, they are doing something about it.
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