Expanding access to higher education is in the DNA of The University of North Carolina at Pembroke. After all, our institution was founded 130 years ago as the first state college in the nation designated specifically for American Indians. Today we are proudly one of the most ethnically diverse universities in the South and a leader in educating students from low-income and rural backgrounds.
We have a tremendous opportunity to advance our mission of access through the NC Promise Tuition Plan. Beginning in the fall 2018, NC Promise will significantly increase the affordability of college for UNCP students by reducing the cost of undergraduate tuition to $500 for in-state and $2,500 for out-of-state tuition per semester.
Coupled with some of the lowest fees and associated costs in the UNC system, the new plan will make a UNCP education one of the best values in North Carolina. All undergraduate students at UNCP are eligible for the new tuition plan, including part-time, online, distance education, transfer and international students.
Under NC Promise, in-state students will save approximately $10,400 in tuition over four years, and the savings for out-of-state students will total more than $40,000. That’s significant savings a new graduate could use toward a down payment for a house, launching a business, starting a family or continuing their education to obtain a master’s or doctoral degree.
Even though tuition rates will decrease, UNCP will provide the same high-quality education experience while shifting costs from the students to the state. This increased public investment honors the North Carolina Constitution, which calls for keeping tuition as “free as practicable.” Not only will NC Promise maintain our educational experience, increased enrollment will enable the university to offer even more programs to prepare students for in-demand professions across our region.
In addition to putting college within reach for more students, the reduced tuition will allow them to graduate with less debt. National statistics show there are more than 44 million borrowers with $1.3 trillion in student loan debt in the U.S. Although UNCP students borrow far less than the national average, too many are saddled with debt when they leave.
NC Promise will also support the UNC Board of Governors’ focus on increasing graduation rates. This important system-wide commitment was outlined in the recent UNC Strategic Plan and UNCP’s subsequent performance agreement I joined UNC President Margaret Spellings in signing. Given the underserved populations UNCP embraces, our students are presented with many obstacles to completing a degree. All too often for them, life gets in the way of their goal to earn a college degree. But NC Promise will go a long way toward ensuring financial concerns don’t force students to stop short of their dreams.
UNCP is one of only three universities statewide selected for NC Promise. I urge you to let prospective college students in your life know about this extraordinary opportunity for an affordable, high-quality education. They should act quickly, as the demand for admission to UNCP is growing as students and their families learn about NC Promise.
President Spellings has called education a right for all citizens, and I agree. The power of education allows an individual to pursue their God-given potential to its fullest measure. NC Promise will help us deliver on our promise for our students and southeastern North Carolina.
For more information, visit uncp.edu/ncpromise or call our Admissions Office at 910-521-6262.
Dr. Robin Gary Cumming is the sixth chancellor of The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.