FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 6, 2020
PEMBROKE, NC - University of North Carolina System Interim President Bill Roper visited the campus of UNC Pembroke today to highlight how the current state budget impasse in Raleigh is affecting the critical needs facing the university.
President Roper met with university leaders and toured campus facilities that have planned repairs or upgrades in the current enacted state budget. He also discussed the stalemate’s effects to the NC Promise Tuition Plan, in addition to other capital, renovation and repair funding projects at UNC System institutions across the state.
“Continuing support of our universities requires fiscal backing from our state’s leaders on both sides of the aisle,” said President Roper. “My concern for the UNC System is - pure and simple - non-partisan, which is why I will continue to request that a solution can be found. I maintain hope that the budget will get enacted. UNC Pembroke is deeply impacted by this lack of funding, and it is at a critical stage due to its importance to the people of southeastern North Carolina and beyond.”
The university is one of three in the state that participates in the NC Promise Tuition Plan. Through this plan, the state reduced student tuition cost to $500 per semester at three UNC system institutions – Elizabeth City State University, UNC Pembroke, and Western Carolina University. But the absence of a state budget would halt critical resources to a growing university, and has the potential to impact students’ progress toward degree completion.
UNC Pembroke is experiencing a 23 percent enrollment growth since the implementation of NC Promise and is owed more than $2 million in buy-down funds, as well as $3.1 million in enrollment growth funding—money that would support key academic and student success supports for the largely rural, first-generation and low-income student population. In addition, there is $91 million for a proposed health and STEM building at UNCP that would not proceed, and an additional $1 million in operational funds for the College of Health Sciences that has the potential to significantly impact regional health outcomes.
The West Hall project currently underway includes a third floor that would not be completed. The floor includes classroom space, a teaching and learning center and instructional technology.
“Above all, UNCP is about providing an uncompromisingly, exceptional educational experience by meeting each of our students where they are and offering the personalized environment they need to learn and grow,” UNCP Chancellor Robin Gary Cummings said. “The projects included in this budget, directly impact our ability to provide that experience and meet the campus growth we’ve experienced over the past two years.”