The University of North Carolina System launched the We Promise campaign today to promote affordable college opportunities for every North Carolinian.
As students navigate college and financial aid applications, We Promise highlights two significant investments in the state’s public university system—the NC Promise Tuition Plan and the Fixed Tuition Program. Though UNC System tuition remains among the very lowest in the nation, it rose substantially in the years following the Great Recession. Putting an end to cost increases has been a priority for University leaders and lawmakers.
“We Promise is an ambitious initiative that highlights how we are making college more accessible and affordable for all North Carolinians.” said President Spellings. “North Carolinians believe in the power of higher education to change lives and improve our state. These efforts are easing the burden on North Carolina families and upholding the state’s constitutional mandate to provide affordable higher education.”
The NC Promise Tuition Plan, passed in 2016, lowers undergraduate tuition to just $500 per semester for in-state students and just $2,500 per semester for out-of-state students at Elizabeth City State University, the University of North Carolina at Pembroke and Western Carolina University. Starting this fall, all undergraduate students at these institutions are benefiting from reduced tuition, regardless of when they first enrolled. Every North Carolinian is within 150 miles of a NC Promise university.
“This fall’s record enrollment at UNC Pembroke is proof NC Promise has made a high-quality college education more accessible to North Carolina students,” said Chancellor Robin Gary Cummings.
“Over the long term, this will lead to a more highly-educated workforce, a more engaged citizenry and improved economic growth for the state and the region. We are grateful to the leadership in our state for making this significant investment in the future of our students and in our university’s potential to drive our region forward.”
The Fixed Tuition Program, also passed in 2016, holds resident undergraduate tuition flat through four years of continuous enrollment at any UNC System university. The program offers students and families much-needed predictability and a powerful incentive for on-time graduation.
Affordability is a top concern for the public and policymakers. Although a large majority of North Carolinians believe a four-year degree leads to a better life and better job prospects, too many families feel that higher education remains unaffordable for them. But recent polling from Gallup shows that just 14 percent of North Carolinians know about NC Promise and just 18 percent know that tuition stays the same for a students’ four years.
“To build the college-going culture our state needs, people must know about the affordable options that are available,” said President Spellings. “That’s exactly what the We Promise campaign will do.”