Five-year Goals and Associated Interim Benchmarks

In January 2017, the Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina unanimously approved Higher Expectations, a five-year Strategic Plan for the UNC System. The Plan calls on the UNC System to achieve ambitious goals in access, student success, affordability and efficiency, economic impact and community engagement, and institutional excellence and diversity.

Progress on these goals and metrics will be achieved through the hard work and commitment of institutional leaders, faculty, and staff. In that spirit, University of North Carolina at Charlotte has identified these contributions that University of North Carolina at Charlotte aspires to make to the UNC Strategic Plan over the next five years.


Low-income Completions

By 2021-22, UNCC will produce 3,094 low-income graduates, an increase of 29.8% (711 additional low-income completions over a base of 2,383).

From UNC Charlotte: UNC Charlotte enrolls and graduates the largest number of low-income students in the UNC System. UNC Charlotte was founded to serve returning World War II veterans, and the university remains committed to opening the doors of higher education to increase economic opportunity for a wider population. Prospect for Success engages students in three key learning outcomes that better position them for academic success and timely graduation. Proactive advising, early alerts, tutoring, and supplemental instruction support student success for all. Niner Central, the one-stop shop for financial aid and administrative services, is especially helpful to first-generation and low-income students and provides support beyond academic advising. Gold Rush Grants help students with unmet needs who are close to graduation complete their degrees.

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Five-year Graduation Rates

By 2022, UNCC will improve its five-year graduation rate from any accredited institution to 64.8%. This is an improvement over a base of 59.1% for UNCC’s 2010 cohort.

From UNC Charlotte: UNC Charlotte exceeded its goal for improving its five-year graduation rate and continues to make impressive gains as its five-year graduation rate nears 70%. UNC Charlotte received the 2019 APLU Degree Completion Award for its Graduation Initiative, which is a multi-faceted, university-wide effort designed to clarify degree requirements, reduce barriers to student progression, and aid in students’ ability to successfully navigate their curriculum. UNC Charlotte’s Prospect for Success program helps students navigate the college experience, proactive advising keeps students on track to graduation, and every college regularly reviews data on student progression to identify potential problems and bottlenecks delaying graduation.

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Undergraduate Degree Efficiency

By 2021-22, UNCC will maintain its undergraduate degree efficiency at its current level of 25.8.

From UNC Charlotte: UNC Charlotte continues to improve its undergraduate degree efficiency and is ranked among the highest of UNC System institutions. This achievement reflects the university’s commitment to the success of all students. The receptive environment for transfer students contributes to UNC Charlotte’s high undergraduate degree efficiency. UNC Charlotte receives the largest number of transfer students in the UNC System, totaling approximately 50% of the student population. The university’s Transfer Center provides support and resources for a seamless transition with the goal to increase retention and graduation rates among transfer students. This commitment to seamless transfer is also reflected in the university’s newly implemented 49er Next program, which is creating deeper partnerships with community colleges to ensure seamless course transfers and timely graduation.

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Critical Workforces

By 2021-22, UNCC will produce 4,188 critical workforce credentials, an increase of 33.9% (1,061 additional critical workforce credentials over a base of 3,127).

From UNC Charlotte: UNC Charlotte is uniquely positioned to address the critical workforce needs of the state’s largest metropolitan region. Its programs produce teachers for the K-12 sector; nurses and other health professionals for the health sector; and engineers, computing professionals and data scientists for the tech sector. UNC Charlotte is second among UNC System institutions in production of critical workforce professionals. The University continues to add and adapt academic programs to meet changing workforce needs. For example, UNC Charlotte now offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Data Science, which is the first undergraduate degree of its kind in North Carolina and is a result of direct collaboration between the university and business leaders. New programs also are offered in healthcare informatics, computer engineering, biotechnology, and respiratory care.

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Research Productivity

By 2021-22, UNCC will receive $54,907,015 in research and development sponsored program awards and licensing income, an increase of 44.1% ($16,800,000 additional over a base of $38,107,015).

From UNC Charlotte: The research enterprise at UNC Charlotte continues to grow in tandem with the growth of research doctoral programs. Increases in faculty, staff, and student resources and the expansion of the university’s research infrastructure have helped to double research awards since 2011-12. The Energy Production and Infrastructure Center is an example of the university’s commitment to meeting the needs of the Charlotte community and the state through interdisciplinary research, industry partnerships, and workforce development. UNC Charlotte is also committed to extending research opportunities to undergraduates and supports a newly formed Office of Undergraduate Research and Charlotte Research Scholars, a summer internship program open to students from all majors.

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Low-income Enrollments

By fall 2021, UNCC will enroll 10,056 low-income students, a 17.5% increase over 2015 levels (1,497 additional low-income students over a base of 8,559).

From UNC Charlotte: UNC Charlotte enrolls the largest number of low-income students—both first-time-in-college students and transfer students—in the UNC System.  UNC Charlotte is committed to reducing time to degree for students to minimize the cost of education. By increasing its four-year graduation rate, UNC Charlotte has reduced the average student debt for its graduates. Many students who stop out of college do so for financial reasons. UNC Charlotte’s 49er Finish program has reached out to these students and, as of 2019, has enabled 1,000 49er Finish students to complete degrees.

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Rural Completions

By 2021-22, UNCC will produce 1,360 rural graduates, an increase of 15.6% (184 additional rural completions over a base of 1,176).

From UNC Charlotte: In 2019-20, UNC Charlotte produced 1,356 rural graduates. While the majority of UNC Charlotte undergraduates arrive from the expanding Charlotte-Mecklenburg region or other growing urban regions, students also come from nearby counties classified as Tier 2. The campus currently ranks third in the UNC System for awards to “rural” students, trailing only East Carolina University, Appalachian State University, and NC State University. Students from outside the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area are attracted to the opportunities for internships available in an urban area. The recently completed light rail line connects UNC Charlotte’s main campus to its Center City Building in the heart of Charlotte and close to major businesses and cultural institutions.  This makes Charlotte’s cultural events and internship opportunities more accessible to students who might not otherwise have access to transportation.

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Achievement Gaps in Undergraduate Degree Efficiency

By 2021-22, UNCC will reduce by 50% the achievement gap in undergraduate degree efficiency between underrepresented minority and non-underrepresented minority students.

From UNC Charlotte: UNC Charlotte has exceeded its degree efficiency target for underrepresented minority students. Progress continues, guided by the UNC Charlotte Campus Plan for Access, Diversity and Inclusion. UNC Charlotte has been cited by the Education Trust for closing the gap in student achievement for both African American and Hispanic students. UNC Charlotte is the No. 1 institution in North Carolina in awarding bachelor’s degrees to Latinx students, according to a recent analysis by Excelencia in Education. We also are nationally ranked in graduating African American students with bachelor’s degrees in multiple STEM areas including mathematics and computer science. UNC Charlotte offers many programs to facilitate student success, including academic engagement opportunities for traditionally underserved minorities and first-generation students through the Office of Academic Diversity and Inclusion. For over 35 years, the University Transition Opportunities Program (UTOP) has offered pre-college summer programming and a learning community experience to first-time-in-college, underrepresented minority students. The graduation rate for UTOP participants is 68.1% compared to 42.7% among underrepresented students who did not participate in UTOP. UNC Charlotte has been particularly successful in graduating African American students in STEM areas and ranks first in North Carolina for baccalaureate degrees awarded to African American students in mathematics, second in computing and physical sciences, and third in engineering.

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Rural Enrollments

By fall 2021, UNCC will enroll 6,279 rural students, a 13.5% increase over 2016 levels (748 additional rural students over a base of 5,531).

From UNC Charlotte: The majority of UNC Charlotte undergraduates arrive from the expanding Charlotte-Mecklenburg region, as well as other growing urban regions, but many of its students come from counties in the nearby region classified as Tier 2, attracted by the opportunities available in the city. For these students, the Career Center has been an important gateway to internships, coop experiences, and the experiential learning opportunities available in Charlotte.  Many rural students transfer from North Carolina’s Community College System. Our Transfer Center is designed to help students make a smooth entry into the university and maximize the benefit of previously earned credits.

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