Access to Higher Education

"UNC should increase access to higher education for all North Carolinians, particularly for underserved regions, underrepresented populations, and non-traditional students."

-UNC Tomorrow Commission Final Report and Recommendations, Sec. 4.2



At General Administration:

Reaching Underrepresented Students - The North Carolina Access Challenge Grant is a federal award of $3.8 million to be shared in partnership between UNC GA, NCCCS, NCICU, SEAA, and DPI. The funds will be used to increase access to higher education in a holistic manner including pre-college programs, recruitment and retention, and other programs targeting underrepresented populations, including African American males. Through the leadership of Dr. Karrie Dixon at UNC GA, a Pre-College Program Summit will be held later this year to further coordinate these efforts.


On UNC's Campuses:

  • North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics continues to increase access to its educational programs through distance education – the NCSSM Online initiative. A pilot program of 65 North Carolina junior-level high school students was launched in August 2008, designed to extend NCSSM’s reach to more highly-qualified students outside of the residential program.  This program at present has a 90% retention rate, with six course offerings this year, and with an additional eight courses in the development stage for 2009-2010. NCSSM plans to admit another cohort of approximately 70 junior-level students in August 2009.


  • UNC Asheville has formed a work group with a retired local school administrator, a member of its board of trustees (who is a former school superintendent), and several faculty and staff on campus to inventory all of its K-12 outreach programs (tutoring, Gear Up, teacher prep, summer camps, service learning etc.).  This inventory will help the campus consolidate and streamline its many pre-college programs and more effectively market those that are successful.


Distance Education and Community College Collaborations – Dr. Alan Mabe has drafted a proposed set of regulations for New Campuses, Branch Campuses and Other Off-Site Use of Facilities that will be presented to the Board of Governors Planning Committee for review and next steps. The proposed regulations incorporate the SACS definition of a branch campus as a guide, and represent an important step in expanding access to educational programs for underserved regions and students and adult learners.


On UNC's Campuses:

  • On March 3, Appalachian State University signed a cooperative agreement with three community college partners in the Hickory region - Catawba Valley Community College, Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute, and Western Piedmont Community College - establishing an educational partnership known as the Appalachian State University Greater Hickory Partnership. Through this new ASU Greater Hickory Partnership, ASU will be offering courses and degree programs in Hickory and Caldwell and Burke Counties, thus ensuring that higher education opportunities will be more available to students and adult learners in this underserved region of our state. 


  • A Memorandum of Understanding was signed in October 2008 between Fayetteville State University and Fayetteville Technical Community College in support of comprehensive collaboration and cooperation. 


Check back here for more "In The Spotlight" features on how UNC's campuses and faculty are responding to the needs of North Carolina through teaching, research and scholarship, and public service.