UNC Chancellor Folt invited to White House summit to discuss college access and success

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For immediate use: Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014


The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has long been committed to making an education of the highest quality affordable to all. Chancellor Carol L. Folt will extend that commitment today, Jan. 16, when she participates in a day-long summit at the White House to make college more accessible to all students, including those from low-income families.


Folt will be part of a group of academic, business and philanthropy leaders participating in the initiative. She also attended a dinner and discussion with college presidents and senior administration officials Wednesday night.


Folt was among roughly a dozen college presidents and chancellors invited to the White House in October to discuss efforts to encourage more high-achieving, low-income students to apply to top colleges and succeed once enrolled.


“Since its founding as the nation’s first public university, Carolina has shown a deep commitment to excellence, innovation, accessibility and public service,’’ Folt said. “From the creation of the Carolina Covenant – a national model to so many other universities that want to provide a debt-free education to deserving low-income students — to the formation of the Carolina College Advising Corps, UNC has been devoted to the promise of access and has encouraged talented, hard-working students to aim high. We are pleased that the timing of this White House initiative coordinates with our university’s plans to continue that promise.”


As part its commitment to the new White House initiative, Carolina has made three new pledges to help more students reach postsecondary education, and succeed:


  • The University will double the size of the Chancellor’s Science Scholars program, which aims to increase diversity among future leaders who want to earn higher-level science degrees. The next four cohorts will increase from 20 students to 40. The cost of funding the students in the expansion from initial enrollment through completion of their bachelor’s degrees will be $4 million.
  • UNC will provide up to $4 million over the next four years to launch a university-wide initiative to improve graduation rates for all undergraduates, with a focus on low-income, first-generation and underrepresented students. The university plans to build on its already-outstanding graduation rates — 82 percent after four years, 89 percent after five years and 90 percent after six years – by enhancing coordinated support services.
  • The University will expand the Carolina College Advising Corps, a UNC public service that provides in-depth, near-peer college advising for high-school students. The expansion will be part of a state-wide initiative led by the John M. Belk Endowment and the College Advising Corps. Working closely with the Endowment, the College Advising Corps and distinguished new college and university partners in North Carolina, 10 additional recent UNC graduates will serve as college advisers during 2014-2015. That will increase the number of UNC advisers to 42 and the number of low-income high schools they serve to 65.


“These commitments will benefit bright, good-hearted students who have worked hard and played by the rules,” said Stephen Farmer, UNC’s vice provost for enrollment and undergraduate admissions. “We want all UNC students to achieve their fullest potential, and we want all students in North Carolina who are capable of earning a college degree to find their way to schools where they will thrive.”


UNC’s commitment to affordability and accessibility includes the Carolina Covenant, which helps eligible low-income students graduate debt-free. The program enrolled its 10th class this fall with 669 first-year and transfer students, and more than 4,700 students have benefitted since 2004. In addition, the Carolina Student Transfer Excellence Program (C-STEP) encourages community college students to transfer to and graduate from UNC. Talented low- and middle-income high school students are guaranteed eventual admission to Carolina if they enroll at one of seven community colleges and successfully complete the program.


For more information on the Chancellor’s Science Scholars Program: http://chancellorssciencescholars.web.unc.edu/

For more information on the Carolina College Advising Corps: http://carolinacollegeadvisingcorps.unc.edu/

For more information on the Carolina Covenant: http://carolinacovenant.unc.edu/

For more information about C-STEP: http://admissions.unc.edu/apply/transfer-students/carolina-student-transfer-excellence-program-c-step/

Folt photo: http://bit.ly/1dVNeg0

Farmer photo: http://bit.ly/Pry3zR

UNC News Services contact: Robbi Pickeral, (919) 962-8589, robbi.pickeral@unc.edu