Sound the alarm — Historically Black Colleges and Universities are under attack in North Carolina.
The North Carolina State Senate has introduced a bill that could bankrupt five of the state’s universities.
The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, Western Carolina University, Elizabeth City State University, Winston-Salem State University, and Fayetteville State University could be impacted adversely by Senate Bill 873.
The last three of these are Historically Black Universities.
The “Access to Affordable College Education Act” proposes to change the names of those schools and cut the tuition down to $500 per semester. Though that may sound inviting, cutting the tuition that low will cause the state to lose millions in revenue and will most likely force those universities to cut major programs.
The end result? These institutions could possibly be transitioned into community colleges, at best.
Dr. Patti Sanders-Smith, National Alumni Association at Winston-Salem State University, and David McCord, chair of the Faculty Senate at Western Carolina University, spoke with Roland Martin during Thursday’s edition of NewsOne Now about the potential impact of North Carolina Senate Bill 873.
Sanders explained the reason why North Carolina legislators introduced this bill in an attempt to “increase enrollment.”
McCord elaborated: “This is a really complex piece of legislation and there is no way to understate its importance — we’re studying it carefully — I think it’s important to note that the Board of Governors of the seventeen campus UNC system has yet to take an articulate stance on it, nor either has the president of the system.”
He continued, “Across the five institutions (while beneficial to students and families) would cost between $60 and $65 million dollars and here at my university at Western Carolina, that tab is $26 million dollars — is what the loss in revenue would be.”
When the Senate budget is released next week, State Senator Tom Apodaca assured those concerned with the impact of #SB873 that “the state will reimburse those universities through the general fund” to the tune of $60 to $80 million dollars.
McCord said that Apodaca’s assurance of reimbursement “is not in the bill itself” and he would “feel much more comfortable with that if it were.”
McCord said if potential revenue loss is not reimbursed, “there is no way to describe the impact” SB873 would have on the universities targeted by the controversial state bill. McCord added, “It would probably close four of the five universities.”
“It’s just hard to believe that they would close down five of the seventeen universities.”
Subscribe to the “NewsOne Now” Audio Podcast on iTunes.