Ahead of the legislative session, a just-released survey shows robust support for public universities, along with concern that their funding is at risk.
The online survey of 1,000 North Carolina residents was conducted by Washington-based Penn Schoen Berland for the Higher Education Works Foundation, an arm of a lobbying group that supports UNC.
The survey found that 89 percent of respondents believe access and affordability are important at public universities, and 79 percent believe that the campuses have a significant impact on the state’s economy.
But more than half — 61 percent — believe that funding for North Carolina’s public universities is at risk, and only 29 percent think the state is living up to its constitutional mandate to provide its citizens a college education that is as free “as practicable.”
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Paul Fulton, a former business school dean at UNC-Chapel Hill and former member of the UNC Board of Governors says, “if our political leaders are truly looking for common ground, they can find it in public higher education.”
The poll was focused only on public universities and did not have questions focused on community colleges or K-12 education. The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.