While we certainly have had our differences with the management of the UNC System, we’re certainly not above putting in a good word when justified. That said, UNC President Erskine Bowles deserves our praise for taking a bold step last week and daring to propose a change in how UNC system institutions are funded.
Currently UNC campuses receive funding based on the number of students enrolled. While colleges in NC — and nationally — have done a great job of enrolling students, too few graduate. Six years after enrolling as freshmen, only about 58 percent of UNC students actually graduate. Since taxpayers provide about $13,000 for every UNC student, the growing number of dropouts is a problem that merits attention.
Bowles suggests state aid to campuses be tied to retention and graduation goals. While the idea still needs to be developed, it can go along way in improving college graduation rates and ensuring taxpayer dollars are well spent.
Kudos, President Bowles. Your idea is a step in the right direction.