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Wanna know a fun fact about me? I applied to exactly one college, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I don’t know if I was really confident, really naive, or a little bit of both, but I knew that’s where I wanted to go to school and didn’t bother to try for anywhere else. Luckily it all worked out, and I managed to graduate a few years ago with degrees in Psychology and Political Science. I believe in the importance of higher education, and I’m so glad I was able to attend a great college in North Carolina. If you or someone in your family is looking at their higher education options, the public universities of North Carolina are a great choice!
North Carolina Universities Are In Great Locations
One of the best parts about living in North Carolina is the fact that everything you could want is just a drive away. Love the mountains? You can go to school at Appalachian State University. Love the beach? UNC Wilmington is an option. Of course, I chose to go to school in Chapel Hill — right in the center of it all!
North Carolina Universities Are Great Schools
I’m a little biased, but it’s not just me that thinks the universities in North Carolina are some of the best. Thirteen of them are ranked by U.S. News among national universities. My own beloved UNC-CH is 29th overall for national universities by U.S. News and 33rd overall by the Wall Street Journal. It was also ranked 3rd overall in public universities and 6th for best value by the Journal.
North Carolina Schools Are Great For Sports Lovers
Perhaps the shallowest of my reasons but a great reason to love North Carolina Universities: sports! I’m not going to claim to be some super sports lover, but even I get caught up in all of the tournament excitement. Having the student-athletes at UNC-CH bring home multiple national championships during my four years in attendance was a whole lot of fun!
North Carolina Has A Great Community College System, Too
I was one of those kids who couldn’t wait to move away and start college, but I know that’s not the case for everyone. Luckily, North Carolina has a great Community College System there for those who are looking for other options. I’ve had two experiences with Community College myself. I attended Stanly Community College via their online program in order to complete a certification program for a previous job. I was also an Adjunct Instructor at Durham Technical Community College for a few years. I love the flexibility and course options available through the North Carolina Community College System.
North Carolina Public Universities Are A Great Value
I graduated with student loan debt, just like most people who’ve attended college. I was able to pay off that debt in just a few years thanks to how little I had to borrow to finish my degree. Student debt is on the rise, around the country,and in North Carolina. Luckily for the students of North Carolina, student debt totals are a little lower than the national average. That doesn’t mean there’s no room for improvement!
That also doesn’t mean college isn’t worth it. It’s still true that college graduates tend to make more money than non-graduates.
One of the reasons that North Carolina colleges are such a great value is the support of North Carolina legislators. There’s actually a constitutional mandate in Article IX of North Carolina’s Constitution to maintain a public system of higher education that “as far as practicable, be extended to the people of the State free of expense.”
Despite this mandate, per-student funding has been cut over the last decade. This has knocked North Carolina from third to sixth in higher education appropriations per student.
If you believe, like me, that education is a vital part of the economic prosperity of the state, as well as a moral obligation, there’s good news.Higher Ed Works is a bipartisan organization focused on the affordability of higher education in North Carolina, the value of a quality education and higher education as an economic driver for the state. You can stay up to date with their work by registering for their weekly newsletter. You can also connect on Twitter to stay informed.