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UNC touts cheap tuition at three schools

October 1, 2018

UNC President Margaret Spellings

North Carolina has always prided itself on trying to make higher education as affordable as possible, and the University of North Carolina system is putting new emphasis on that effort.

UNC President Margaret Spellings on Monday launched the “We Promise” campaign to tout programs state lawmakers put in place two years ago.

Polling by the 17-campus university system found that only 14 percent of North Carolina residents are aware that tuition at Elizabeth City State University, UNC-Pembroke and Western Carolina University is only $500 per semester.

The plan to is to increase enrollment at three institutions that border other states, Spellings said.

“What we were seeing is that our neighbors in Tennessee, Virginia and South Carolina were poaching our great students,” she said. “We know that where you go to college is often where you meet a spouse, want to settle down, and we want to keep our best and brightest right here in North Carolina.”

The program has shown early success. Enrollment is up 6.5 percent at Western Carolina, 14 percent at UNC-Pembroke and 19 percent at Elizabeth City State.

“We’re really proud to be one of the nation’s innovators and leaders around affordability,” Spellings said.

The state has pumped $51 million into the program to offset the loss of tuition revenue at the three schools.

The “We Promise” campaign also is geared to show off tuition control at the other UNC campuses. Tuition is guaranteed to remain at the same rate, freshman through senior year, as long as a student is continuously enrolled.

“It provides certainty and affordability for North Carolinians who are availing themselves to our great universities,” Spellings said.

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