But while attending Fayetteville Technical Community College, Carlos enrolled in a program called the Carolina Student Transfer Excellence Program (C-STEP), which offered him guaranteed admission to UNC as long as he met a GPA requirement.
Carlos said guaranteed admissions programs like C-STEP give low-income students hope.
“When you are faced with financial burdens, it tends to limit your thinking,” he said. “You tend to think, ‘Well I can’t because I don’t have the opportunity, I don’t have the resources.’ So at least having the hope of getting accepted will allow them to think about, ‘OK, what do I want to be when I get here?’ It allows them to further think about their future.”
State legislators created the North Carolina Guaranteed Admission Program in fall of 2015, which is slated to be implemented at all UNC-system schools and community colleges in the 2017-18 school year.
Within the program, schools can accept students and require they attend community college for two years prior to enrolling in the university as a junior.
“It’s going to affect the kids in that bottom quartile academically who have traditionally found the university curriculum to be very challenging,” said Rep. Craig Horn, R-Union. “We’ve got a lot of kids going to college, spending a lot of money, dropping out and having nothing to show for it.”
The Guaranteed Admission Program differs from current transferring policies, as students apply to specific UNC institutions as high schoolers — and then earn their associate’s degree.
The Board of Governors and the Community College system will report on the policy’s effects on enrollment and the number of student participants by March 1.