Higher Education

The 'Old Well' UNC-Chapel HIll
Caroline Culler / Wikipedia

The state’s higher education institutions had a $63.5 billion impact on the state’s economy in the 2012-13 fiscal year, according to a new study. 

Higher education leaders say the report shows that the North Carolina’s institutions of higher education are providing a strong return on investment for students and taxpayers.

It notes that taxpayers invested $4.3 billion to support higher education in 2012-13, and received a $17 billion return.

Megan Malkowski with hands raised, 2011
Will Folsom / Flickr/Creative Commons

All this week, many area colleges and universities are waiving their application fees. Costs usually run between $40 and $100 per application, so for those students who are applying to several schools, the savings can be substantial. Don't wait till the weekend, though. The special program ends on Friday, Nov. 14.

Here is a complete list of participating colleges and universities:

Thom Tillis and Kay Hagan
NC General Assembly/US Senate

    

As the midterm elections get closer, education is a prominent topic in North Carolina’s congressional races. 

The school is located along state highway 150 in Guilford County.
Jeff Tiberii

One of the nation's oldest military schools is located just a few miles northwest of Greensboro. Oak Ridge Military Academy recently began its 163rd academic year. However, for a time it looked as though the school was going to close. In the face of growing competition, low enrollment and unstable leadership, the academy changed course.  And for now Oak Ridge marches on.

This week North Carolina Public Radio is looking at school communities. This is the fourth installment of a five-part series.
 

The Fostering Bright Futures program helps former foster care children transition into college.
Wake Tech Community College

Last year, it looked unclear if Keilia Scott would be able to complete the cosmetology program she began at Wake Tech Community College in Raleigh. A foster child since the age of 15, Scott struggled in her teen years without family support.

She moved to nine different homes and each transition meant adaptation to a new family, new rules and a new school. Scott admits she was rebellious and ran away from several homes. The system eventually  placed her in a locked facility out-of-state.

A picture of a mortarboard hat and dipolma.
aadl / Flickr

A program at Wake Tech Community College is working to help young people aging out of the foster care system transition into college.

Michelle Blackmon is the program coordinator for Fostering Bright Futures. She said kids often don't acquire the same life skills in foster care, or have the same support, that makes going to college easier for kids who grow up with family.

The price of a college education is soaring in America; so is the amount of student loan debt. President Obama has proposed regulations that would cap student loan payments at 10 percent of a graduate's income, and according to the latest Labor Department data, about a third of recent college graduates are either underemployed or jobless.

Alexandra Zagbayou smiling
studentudurham.org

Alexandra Zagbayou was born in Montreal but returned to her father's homeland of Ivory Coast when she was 4 years old. Six years later, her family fled because they feared political persecution in the tense years before the country's civil war.

"We thought we would be in the U.S. for a summer. The summer turned into 15 years," she said.

The family moved to Raleigh, North Carolina, where Zagbayou learned English by reverse engineering her school's French classes.

Later, her parents returned to Africa while she and her sister stayed in Raleigh with their aunt and uncle. A few years after that, their uncle was killed.

Zagbayou's older sister became her primary guardian while she worked hard to finish high school and secure funding for college. 

One summer, Zagbayou taught dance classes to homeless and displaced youth. This was when she first began to process her own challenging life experiences. She realized not only that she related to her students, but that she had come out the other side. 

Today she helps run the Durham-based college-access organization, Student U. The program empowers students to pursue their own educational journeys despite diverse challenges. 

North Carolina A&T School of Nursing
North Carolina A&T

North Carolina A&T's nursing degree program is in peril after the UNC Board of Governors decided to temporarily suspend enrollment.

In 2010 and 2011, fewer than 75 percent of A&T's nursing school passed the National Council Licensure Examination on the first try.  That could have terminated the program, but the Board of Governors gave the nursing school two more years to get passing scores above 85 percent.

The Old Well at UNC-Chapel Hill.
unc.edu

The athletic program at Carolina came under scrutiny when academic advisor and tutor Mary Willingham made her research on athlete literacy public.

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