PEMBROKE – By reducing tuition to $500 a semester for in-state students at UNC Pembroke, Chancellor Robin Gary Cummings thinks state legislators are trying to abide by a promise in the state constitution.
“NC Promise is a piece of legislation that I think represents the commitment of our legislators to make an education as free of expense as possible, which you know is involved in the North Carolina Constitution,”1 Cummings says in the accompanying video.
Starting this fall, NC Promise offers tuition of $500 a semester for in-state students and $2,500 a semester for out-of-state students at UNC Pembroke, Elizabeth City State University and Western Carolina University.
There are other costs of attendance like room and board, Cummings notes, but tuition is a significant cost for students, and NC Promise will mean a savings of $10,000 to a student over four years.
Cummings recalls asking one graduating student two years ago what NC Promise would have meant to her.
“She said, ‘That would have been $10,000 I would not have had to borrow,’” he says.
“We believe that it will attract a more academically gifted student. At the same time, we want to use it to maintain our commitment to access, to being a school of access for all students.”
Provost David Ward says UNC Pembroke saw a dramatic increase in completed applications this year – and a doubling in transfer applications.
“We’ve seen increased interest in all of our open houses,” Ward says. “And students are coming to campus to look at us, take a look under the hood, to see if they fit here. I think that’s going to be the key – we want students who feel like UNC Pembroke’s the right home for them. Because if they feel like they fit, they’re going to succeed academically.
“Overall, NC Promise has really energized our admissions process. I think there’s more to come – I think in fall 2019, NC Promise will have an even bigger impact on our potential enrollment.”
1 https://www.ncga.state.nc.us/legislation/constitution/ncconstitution.html, Article IX, Section 9.