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U.S. News Ranks UNCP High on its Affordable List

August 18, 2000

U.S. News and World Report, in its September 18, 2000 issue, listed The University of North Carolina at Pembroke as one of the most affordable universities in the nation to earn an undergraduate degree.

In 1999, only 40 percent of UNC Pembroke graduates owed money on their college education.

And the amount UNCP graduates owed was third lowest among Southern regional universities, according to a U.S. News survey released in its September 18th issue.

The news came on the heels of news that UNC Pembroke set new records this fall for total enrollment and the number of new freshmen.

U.S. News, a leader in college rankings, also places UNCP second in the South for the cultural diversity of its student body.

“We have known for some time that The University of North Carolina at Pembroke offers an affordable education,” said Chancellor Allen C. Meadors. “Thanks to U.S. News, the world knows that we are one of the most affordable universities in the nation.”

“This is a significant accomplishment in this age of excessively high cost education. Everyone at the university should be proud of this achievement, especially our Financial Aid office,” Chancellor Meadors said. “This is also something prospective students and their parents should be aware of.”

“We do everything possible to make sure that the cost of an education is as affordable as possible for our students and their families,” he said. “At the same time, we offer a high quality education for the money as seen in our top ranking in UNC’s annual survey of students and recent graduates satisfaction.”

UNCP ranked first in 9 of 16 categories of the UNC survey including satisfaction with overall instruction, advisement and career counseling.

Two other UNC schools, Greensboro and Chapel Hill, rank in the top 20 for universities whose graduates had the “least debt.” UNCP scored significantly better than both in the U.S. News categories of “percent of graduates with debt” and “average amount of debt.”

  • Forty percent of UNC Pembroke’s 1999 graduates had outstanding student loans, and the average amount of that debt was $6,849.
  • Fifty-eight percent of UNC Greensboro’s graduates owed an average of $10,026.
  • Sixty percent of UNC Chapel Hill grads had loans averaging $12,900.

“This is further proof that a UNCP student can receive a quality education at an affordable price,” said Financial Aid Director Bruce Blackmon. “We try to exhaust every grant option possible before we offer a student loan.”

“We make every effort to make sure a student keeps their loan debt as low as possible, and we advise students about the dangers of borrowing more than they need,” Mr. Blackmon said. “It doesn't make sense for a student to graduate from a four-year college or university and be $30,000 in debt before they get their first job.”

As he often does, Mr. Blackmon offered this advice about paying for a college education.

“Loans are an economical way for a student to attend college,” he said.  “For most students, there is no interest charged on these loans while they are in school. However, there is potential for abuse.”

For Admissions Director Jackie Clark said the U.S. News report is just one more reason for high school students to choose UNC Pembroke.

“This news has invigorated our admissions office,” Ms. Clark said. “We’re taking the wraps off one of the best kept secrets in higher education.”

“This is one more tool in a growing arsenal of reasons for high school students to take a look at us,” she said.

UNC Pembroke led UNC in enrollment gains for freshmen (20.2 percent), graduate students (28.1 percent) and overall enrollment gains (9.3 percent). Enrollment, at 3,444 is highest ever.

“The good news is that this is not only the biggest freshman class, it is the strongest we’ve ever recruited in terms of their class rank and high school grade point average,” the admissions director said. “If that’s not enough this is also the most geographically diverse freshmen class to attend UNCP.”