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Friday January 15th

NCSU to alter enrollment model due to budget cuts

As UNC-system administrators discuss new enrollment funding models, schools throughout the system are already planning changes.

Following years of extensive budget cuts, N.C. State University is slowing its freshmen enrollment growth to fit available resources and maintain academic quality.

The university’s new long-term enrollment plan includes increasing graduate and transfer student enrollment.

To implement the enrollment plan, NCSU administrators will hire more tenured and tenure-track faculty to expand the school’s research capacities and advise graduate students.

Tina Valdecanas, chief strategy and branding officer at the Research Triangle Park, said an increased focus on research at NCSU will bring more research dollars to the area.

In a NCSU report about the enrollment plan, the university said it expects a 38 percent increase in incoming transfer students, and a 22 percent increase in incoming master’s students by 2020. This year, 1,027 transfer students entered the university, along with about 2,000 master’s students.

Admitted freshmen are projected to increase by only 1 percent in 2020. This year’s freshman class totaled 4,564 students.

The UNC system has requested $29 million in enrollment funding from the state legislature for the 2012-13 academic year, including $11.5 million for a new performance-based funding model that was discussed by members of the UNC-system Board of Governors at its meeting last week.

The new model is designed to reward campuses for graduating more students and operating more efficiently.

Cathy Barlow, provost at UNC-Wilmington, said the university is also taking steps to operate more efficiently by bolstering its graduate program.

UNC-W’s enrollment model allows for controlled growth of both transfer and freshmen student populations, she said.

“We are currently assessing our enrollment model and exploring a number of options to develop a new model in response to decreased university resources and the current economic environment,” she said.

NCSU’s smaller increase in admitted freshmen students will boost the selectivity of the university’s admissions, according to the report. It will also decrease introduction-level class sizes and increase resources available for scholarships and need-based financial aid.

UNC-CH does not plan to follow NCSU’s enrollment plan, but will grow slowly and selectively, said Bruce Carney, UNC-CH executive vice chancellor and provost.

“Their enrollment plan makes considerable sense for them, within the funding formula currently in use,” he said. “It is not our road map, however.”

And at East Carolina University, Provost Marilyn Sheerer said they are encouraging transfer students while cutting back on freshmen enrollment increases.

“Our facilities cannot handle a larger freshman class, and our faculty is at capacity in terms of serving that population.”

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