CHAPEL HILL – The incoming Chairman of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors wants to keep state universities efficient and affordable – so they can continue to do great things.
“When I look at higher education, one of the major points of concern for me is actually the sustainability – particularly for us being the public vehicle,” Washington, NC businessman Harry Smith, who will become chairman of the UNC governing board July 1, says in the accompanying video.
“I mean, we should be the affordable, efficient platform for the citizens of North Carolina – the constitution says ‘as free as practical.’ One of the things that is easy to forget is the mean income in North Carolina is around $50,000 a year – we need to have a platform that actually supports that.”
Given student debt levels, Smith says, expecting students to borrow more isn’t sustainable.
“That is my biggest concern – how can we work to make the UNC System the most affordable and efficient platform in the country?”
Smith expresses admiration for what the state’s public universities do for North Carolina – and for North Carolinians.
“There’s no doubt that the college system is the glass ceiling-breaker for a lot of our citizens in the state. It’s also the mechanism that recruits incredible students from out of state that end up staying here, having families, creating jobs, paying taxes. And it’s also the engine that does a tremendous amount of recruitment of industry. So it’s very critical – I do see it as the state’s number-one asset,” he says.
“So one of the things you’ll see us do I think is develop 17 distinct strategies for 17 distinct schools – because one size does not fit all in the UNC System, nor has it ever.”