NC Lawmakers Propose $500 per Semester at HBCU

As politicians and education leaders grapple with America’s student loan debt crisis and how to cut the cost of higher education, the North Carolina General Assembly is taking steps to make education cheaper for its students.

Historically Black College and University, Elizabeth City State University, is likely to see a cut to its tuition rate once the general assembly gathers to vote on a new budget proposal for some state schools.

State lawmakers have a plan to slash in-state tuition for students at Elizabeth City to just $500, and pare down the out-of-state tuition rate to $2,500 per semester.

This is an effort to increase enrollment at Elizabeth City, as well as two other state schools, while making higher education more affordable. The plan would also allow the state to cover any revenue loss at schools that fall under the program caused by slashing tuition. In addition to the tuition cut to entice more students to enroll, the state may also spend $250,000 on student recruitment marketing.

Elizabeth City was included because the school is in crisis. According to, the school enrolled just over 230 students for the 2015 fall semester after admitting over 1,100. By decreasing the cost of education at Elizabeth City, lawmakers and leaders are hopeful that they may bring Elizabeth City off of life support.

But everyone doesn’t see the plan as good for Elizabeth City. Fearing that this plan to cut tuition may signal a slice to services and programs offered at the HBCU, president of the NAACP in North Carolina, William Barber, believes that the proposal is a way to undermine education in the black community.

While that’s one way of looking at it, the other way is to watch the demise of Elizabeth City State. Without help from the state, the school is sure to face closure in the near future. The low cost of tuition, and the promise from the state to pay the difference, will hopefully keep quality services at the HBCU while increasing student numbers.

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