For many North Carolinians, spring beckons backyard barbecues, a new attempt to master golf or relaxing on boats and beaches. It’s less of a kick for many high-school juniors and seniors, who spend the season taking Advanced Placement and SAT exams and a whirlwind of college-campus tours. Luckily, the state provides a bounty of options for the education-minded, bolstering the economy.
Higher education in North Carolina created the equivalent of more than 1 million jobs and $63.5 billion in income in 2012-13, about 15% of the total gross state product, according to a 2015 report by Economic Modeling Specialists International. (The total includes hospitals and other medical operations.) More than 386,000 people are enrolled at the state’s post-secondary schools. Members of its 17-campus public system are consistently ranked among the best values of U.S. colleges, and its large research universities attract global talent. Independent schools, which accounted for nearly a quarter of students in 2014-15, had a statewide economic impact of $14.2 billion while the 58-campus community-college system added $21.5 billion in state income in 2012-13, according to the report.
In this section, Business North Carolina profiles Philip Dubois, chancellor at UNC Charlotte for the last decade, who has steered the school in North Carolina’s largest city through an era of rapid growth, adding more than 8,000 students. Separately, newly installed UNC Pembroke Chancellor Robin Cummings describes plans for raising the profile of his campus, founded to serve Native American students and located in a Robeson County town of about 3,000 people. And some former student leaders reflect back on their school days and people who helped them achieve their goals.
Finally, BNC’s annual higher education directory, compiled using information provided by the schools, is a comprehensive list that includes enrollment totals, tuition rates and freshman acceptance rates and is intended to be a valuable tool for anyone considering attending a college or university in North Carolina.