Technical upgrades at UNC System campuses will boost access to new degree programs

RALEIGH, N.C. –  A $7.8 million appropriation by Congress will provide technical upgrades for University of North Carolina System campuses to improve access to degree programs for adult learners.

The funding, part of a six-bill spending package signed into law in March, will enable UNC campuses to accelerate the utilization of the online learning platform built by Project Kitty Hawk, an ed tech nonprofit that serves the UNC System. These campus level upgrades will help institutions create more high-demand online degree programs to reach working adults and military-affiliated students.

The $7.8 million in Department of Education funding was part of the annual Labor, Health and Human Services, Education appropriations bill. It was sponsored by U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina.

“Sen. Tillis has been a champion of our plans to strengthen North Carolina’s workforce and serve students who need a college degree to advance in their careers,” said UNC System President Peter Hans. “This new funding will expand our ability to reach adult learners and veterans, and we’re extremely grateful for Sen. Tillis’ strong show of support for the university.”

“Increasing access to degree programs for adult learners is a critical step towards ensuring North Carolinians are prepared to enter and contribute to our growing workforce and economy,” Sen. Tillis said. “I was proud to advocate for this funding on behalf of the UNC System as they strive to remove barriers to education for their students.”  

Project Kitty Hawk has already seen significant success, bringing in over 1,300 students into UNC System institutions through its multiple product lines. Currently, new degree programs are being offered at East Carolina University and North Carolina Central University in areas such as nursing, information technology and psychology, with new programs planned in public health and health administration, among others. This week, Appalachian State University announced an agreement with Project Kitty Hawk to develop new online degree programs, marking the third university partnership with the organization.