Spellings: UNC Committed To Promoting Economic Mobility For Low-Income Students

Jun 4, 2018

In a State of the University speech, UNC System President Margaret Spellings announced the new Student Success Innovation Lab, an initiative that will pilot promising ideas to improve student retention and allocate researchers to evaluate them.
Credit Liz Schlemmer / WUNC

UNC System President Margaret Spellings says the university is committed to promoting economic mobility and helping low-income North Carolinians to succeed.

In a State of the University speech, Spellings announced the new Student Success Innovation Lab. She said the initiative will pilot promising ideas to improve student retention and allocate researchers to evaluate them.

"We know it's not enough to get students into school. We must also provide the support and education that gets them to graduation,” Spellings said. “The Student Success Innovation Lab is a big step forward in identifying and scaling what works.”

Spellings said one area of evaluation will be varied financial aid options, including summer grants, micro grants and incentive based grants.

Despite a thriving economy, Spellings said North Carolina cities show some of the worst economic mobility rankings in the country.

“The pie is growing, but not everyone is getting a slice,” she said. “As we get more data on the scope of the problem, we're also getting a better picture of how higher education can change that opportunity deficit.”

In addition to the launch of the Student Success Innovation Lab initiative, Spellings also lauded new programs to limit in-state tuition on several campuses and to promote continuous education from Pre-K through the workforce.