Editorial

UNC system wants to raise percentage of degree holders in North Carolina

January 20, 2013 

North Carolina is squarely in the middle, 26th in the country, when it comes to the percentage of residents with undergraduate degrees or better. Now University of North Carolina system officials say they’ll study ways to raise the percentage to 36.2 by 2025.

Early ideas include improving online learning, bolstering the advising system (a problem particularly in larger institutions) and gearing up with courses aimed at training for careers relevant in the future.

This is admirable. Too many students seem to lack goals or guidance, and in a job market that is globally competitive, that’s not good.

The system should never lose sight of the importance of a well-rounded education, but the university is not insulated from the economic pressures that demand more efficiency not just in operations but in outcomes. Doing more to ensure that students proceed toward degrees in a timely fashion is better for them, for the university’s varied branches and for the taxpayers who support them.

That the UNC system is a jewel in the state’s crown is a proud fact. But given the number of opportunities in this state, the current percentage of graduates is clearly not good enough.

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