North Carolina A&T is being penalized for rising enrollment numbers. Greensboro News & Record reports that the university will be losing $2 million in state-allocated funding for exceeding the University of North Carolina System’s out-of-state freshman enrollment limit for the second consecutive year. The board has a policy that any of the 16 UNC System schools (including HBCUs North Carolina A&T, Elizabeth City, Fayetteville State, Winston-Salem State & North Carolina Central) that exceeds the out-of-state freshman limit for two consecutive years will be penalized by having its state operations budget reduced. This comes after the out-of-state enrollment limit was raised to 25% for all five of the state’s HBCUs. In the same ruling, North Carolina A&T and North Carolina Central were allowed to admit up to 35% of out-of-state freshmen beginning in the Fall of 2022. North Carolina A&T Chancellor Harold Martin has accepted the penalty according to Greensboro News & Record.
“Fall 2021 enrollment was 13,332—up 6 percent over 2019. The school is already meeting its obligation of admitting as many well qualified North Carolinians as it can, administrators say. But they say they’re turning away too many well-qualified out-of-state students because of the current cap.” says Joe Killan, writer for NC Policy Watch’s blog The Pulse (not affiliated with HBCU Pulse) after UNC raised the limit.
The limit on first-year out-of-state students is said to be instituted to give an advantage to in-state students in terms of enrollment. However, it punishes universities such as North Carolina A&T that are in the midst of record-high enrollment numbers. UNC System President Peter Hans, in an interview with NC Policy Watch, touted why raising the admission limit is good for the public institutions of North Carolina.
“Out-of-state students on the whole have higher GPAs. They hopefully stay in North Carolina, adding to our talent pool. There’s a financial benefit, not only in the form of, necessarily, the tuition and enrollment of course, but support for the auxiliary operations – housing, dining, athletics, transportation – that campuses are responsible for.”
For President Hans to make a statement such as this but then have the board institute a policy that penalizes institutions for high freshman enrollment numbers is very odd. UNC System Board Member Joel Ford, an alumnus of North Carolina A&T and North Carolina State Senator (District 38), advocated for the vote being pulled from the Thursday agenda. He also spoke out against the penalty, saying, “I cannot support this particular item punishing an HMSI (Historically Minority-Serving Institution) for ultimately, Mr. Chairman, for being successful. We have out-of-state students who want to attend one of our institutions because of its history and because of their ability to make good and deliver on a promise to provide a high-quality education.”
NC A&T fined 2 million by the @UNC_System for being a thriving HBCU. The State has deliberately underfunded NC A&T since its inception (2 Billion and counting…), which makes the situation even more ridiculous. pic.twitter.com/5F6msycANO
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— Aggy Aggie (@AggyAggie1891) November 18, 2022
He also stated, “Fundamentally, I cannot support a policy that is going to take $2 million away from the university, when in reality they could use every dime that they can get to continue that mission.”
UNC System Chair of the Budget and Finance Committee James L. Holmes Jr. said that he understood the concerns that Ford brought up but the penalty was “purely administrative and consistent with the policy that exists.” Holmes also says that he plans to put it on a future agenda to further discuss the policy.
North Carolina A&T is not commenting on the board’s decision per a spokeswoman for the University. We will continue to keep you updated on this story.