Trustees Address Student Success During Committee Meeting
August 22, 2018
Figuring out more ways to support and retain more students could significantly boost
enrollment at UNC and help more students graduate.
That was the conclusion of the discussion during the UNC Board of Trustees’ finance and audit committee meeting Wednesday, Aug. 22, in the Carter fourth-floor boardroom.
While overall enrollment is projected to be over 12,500 for the second straight year, and the number of continuing students increased this year, roughly 30 percent of students leave without graduating during the span of an academic year.
For UNC President Andy Feinstein, who addressed trustees at the beginning of the meeting, student success will be one of the university’s central themes as he and campus leadership formulate strategies in the coming year.
UNC supports students a variety of ways, including need-based and merit-based financial aid, and individual support provided through specific and successful programs such as Cumbres and the Center for Human Enrichment. Also, a computer-based advising tool that has expanded through the years continues to help identify students who may be at risk academically but may not know it. Feinstein pointed out during the meeting that research shows students who enroll full time, taking a course load of 15 credit hours a semester, are more likely to graduate in four years. The average undergraduate course load this fall is 14.4.
Strategies to enhance academic support and financial aid will be identified during the year. The committee’s next step will be to schedule a time in the coming weeks for further dialogue on the topic.
The committee also discussed the budget. UNC experienced a $10 million structural deficit last year and responded by taking short-term steps such as hiring freezes and travel reductions this year. This year, strategies to develop sustainable models will get underway.
As for other themes that will be addressed this year, Feinstein pointed to enrollment and determining the appropriate mix of undergraduates and graduates, zeroing in on UNC’s distinctiveness and elevating the university’s prominence, and creating a transparent culture that embraces openness and transparency.