North Carolina Guaranteed Admission Proposal

on May 16, 2016

Under the NC Guaranteed Admission Program, public colleges and universities in North Carolina would be required starting in fall 2017 to direct their least qualified admitted students to one of the state’s community colleges. Those that graduated with an Associate’s degree in three years would be guaranteed admission to the 4-year college as juniors.

The proposal is favored by Republican lawmakers, who see it as a way of cutting costs and improving the rate at which students graduate from 4-year colleges in the state. But the improvements in graduation rates may be merely an artifact of more selective admissions standards. The number of students graduating might decrease even as the graduation rates increase.

Faculty dislike the proposal because they worry that the state’s most selective colleges will lose students to other states. Also, the proposal will send weaker students to the community colleges, which have fewer resources for helping at-risk students.

There are also concerns about the lack of specifics in the proposal. For example, it is unclear how the state’s flagship college, UNC-Chapel Hill, will be affected. UNC-Chapel Hill has a 91 percent graduation rate. Depending on how the proposal is implemented, it might force the university to provide deferred admission to students who are capable of graduating on-time. UNC-Chapel Hill already offers the Carolina Student Transfer Excellence Program (C-STEP) to enable Associate’s degree recipients from partner community colleges to transfer to the 4-year institution.

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