The Daily Tar Heel

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Monday December 6th

BOG to consider changes to out-of-state cap

The UNC Board of Governors took a first look into addressing out-of-state enrollment at system campuses Thursday.

Current UNC-system policy requires universities to cap nonresident enrollment at 18 percent.

But North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University exceeded the cap last year at 31.4 percent, a result of mistaken enrollment projections after efforts to recruit a stronger incoming class.

N.C. A&T is slated to incur a fine of $250,000 for the violation — one of multiple universities to receive penalties for exceeding the cap over the last decade.

At the board’s meeting in April, N.C. A&T’s situation was a divisive topic. Members recommended that pilot project ideas to change the UNC system’s nonresident policy be brought to the table for discussion.

Options presented at Thursday’s meeting included lowering out-of-state tuition at campuses within 25 miles of the state border, increasing the out-of-state cap to 30 percent for historically minority institutions or allowing a systemwide cap increase to 22 percent.

There have been an increasing number of qualified out-of-state applicants to UNC-system schools in recent years, and board member Peaches Blank said she is glad the board is beginning to examine the issue.

But she said more specific details of each proposed plan remain to be seen, and the process of amending system policy will be long.

“You have to look at it from an individual institutional perspective and from a global perspective and put the parts together, and I think that’s where we have to go from here,” Blank said.

UNC-system president Tom Ross said he supports continued discussion of nonresident policy changes, citing a chart that showed about half of the out-of-state students who graduated from UNC-CH in 2009 remained in North Carolina three years after graduation.

“They’re here contributing to the economy and making a difference,” Ross said. “I think that’s a real economic driver we need to keep in mind.”

Among last year’s freshman class at UNC-CH, 16.6 percent were out-of-state.

If the University raised its out-of-state cap to 22 percent, it would be able to admit 204 more nonresident students. The board estimated that almost 2,000 potentially qualified UNC-CH applicants from outside North Carolina were rejected from admission in 2012.

Implementation of any nonresident policy changes would begin in fall 2014, allowing for testing and analysis of the different options over the next year.

Campus participation would not be mandatory, and the number of in-state students admitted to each school would not be affected.

Thursday’s presentation was just a preliminary overview, Ross said.

“(Implementation) depends on the board’s reactions,” he said. “We’ll continue the discussion for sure.”

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