ECSU reinstated as ‘discount’ UNC school

ECSU reinstated as ‘discount’ UNC school
June 30
09:30 2016



When the state Senate originally proposed several weeks ago to designate struggling Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) as one of three historically black UNC campus schools to introduce a $500 per semester proposal for in-state students in order to boost enrollment, many critics suspected closing ECSU to be the true motive of the bill.

There were concerns that the tuition discount would hit the schools hard, and even though they were promised at least $70 million in the upcoming budget to make up the difference, there were no guarantees in the years to come. Plus, critics alleged, the cheapened tuition could tarnish the image and reputation of the UNC schools involved.

Protests rang up from black lawmakers, the N.C. NAACP, students, alums and supporters of ECSU, in addition to Winston-State University and Fayetteville State University (the other two UNC System schools involved), forcing Sen. Tom Apodaca (R- Hendersonville) to withdraw his bill, complaining that his intentions had been mis-understood, and he only wanted help the three black schools, in addition to UNC-Pembroke and Western Carolina University, increase their enrollments.

Charging that his life had also been threatened, Apodaca removed his bill. Fast forward to Monday evening, June 27, when leaders of the state Senate and House announced that they have a $22 billion budget agreement ready for both houses to ratify this week, and Gov. Pat McCrory to possibly sign no later than Friday, in time for the new fiscal year beginning July 1.

In as part of the new budget is the provision Apodaca said he would kill, a $500-per-semester tuition, this time involving just three schools – UNC-Pembroke, Western Carolina University and Elizabeth City State University.

Senate Majority Leader Phil Berger said the schools were re-included because their chancellors asked to be. He added that ECSU was in “critical” need of the program because a March audit showed a sharp drop in enrollment, with only 232 students out of over 1186 freshmen admitted who actually enrolled.

The Rev. Dr. William Barber II, president of the N.C. NAACP, continues to criticize the move, charging that it is just a “shell game” to ultimately close ECSU down. Apodaca says the budget has $40 million allotted to help all three schools with any shortfalls next year.

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Cash Michaels

Cash Michaels

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