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COLLEGE IS A GOOD INVESTMENT, BUT BE WARY OF DEBT Published in the News & Observer Nov. 4, 2016
The College Board has just released its annual Trends in Student Aid report, highlighting an issue receiving national attention: student debt. Like students and their families, we in higher education have serious concerns about college affordability and student debt, regularly monitoring and analyzing them to maintain quality higher education at a reasonable cost. For the majority of graduates, the return on investment far outweighs the amount of debt incurred; however, some students do amass greater debt than they can reasonably accommodate. This is especially true for students who take on debt but do not complete college. It is important as we discuss solutions aimed at reducing student debt, that accurate data and context are considered. In particular, how do North Carolina graduates fare and what are our colleges and universities doing to help address the financial burden?
The Brookings Institution reports that 40 percent of North Carolina college and university students graduate with no debt. In addition, a large proportion of student loan debt is actually incurred by students enrolled in graduate and professional schools rather than those seeking a bachelor’s degree. For the six in ten undergraduates who do borrow, the national average of student debt upon graduation is $27,000; and the average in NC is lower at $25,000 according to College InSight. One can compare this amount of debt to the average price of a car - which will depreciate, while the value of a college degree will appreciate. But it is even more important to consider that according to the United States Census Bureau, individuals with a baccalaureate degree earn an average of $1 million more, in part depending upon their choice of career, during their lifetimes than individuals with only a high school diploma.
In North Carolina, federal and state grants are available to two- and four-year college students who have financial need. North Carolina’s 36 independent (private, non-profit) colleges and universities also help keep their institutions affordable to a diverse array of students by providing significant amounts of student grants from the colleges’ own funds, raised through private philanthropy. Last year nearly $600 million in institutional aid was awarded to students, in addition to $160 million in federal grant aid and work study funds and $88 million in state grant aid.
Students can supplement their financial aid package with a variety of educational loan options. These loans often make the difference, in combination with federal, state and institutional grant aid, in a student’s ability to attend and complete college. The average student financial aid package at North Carolina’s private colleges and universities consists of nine percent federal grant aid, seven percent state and local grant aid, 60 percent institutional aid and 24 percent federal and private loans.
We in higher education continue to work to keep college costs down and raise additional scholarship funds for students. The use of student loans to pay for college has actually declined over the past decade, with more than a third of borrowers owing less than $10,000. It is important to note that while college staff can counsel students on whether they should take out loans and how much would be reasonable, financial aid counselors cannot control if or how much, students actually borrow. Whether it is financial aid for which the federal government says a student is eligible or a private loan a lender agrees to make, the decision to borrow money and how much to borrow is a student choice - not a campus choice.
Careful packaging of grant aid by financial aid administrators has reduced the amount students are borrowing, and while we must be mindful of those who over-borrow, we must also recognize the opportunity responsible borrowing brings to many students.
Students and parents should work with financial aid officers to determine if borrowing is needed to help make a college education possible. Together they can package aid that meets the student’s and family’s needs without placing an unreasonable burden on future income. A college education is an investment. Yes, it is expensive, but the returns are proven: increases in the quality of life for graduates and their families and higher earnings over the course of their lives.
A. Hope Williams
North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities
STUDENTS RECEIVE RESEARCH GRANTS FOR STEM PROJECTS
RALEIGH, NC – Nine students have received stipends to support research that will be presented at the 2016 North Carolina Undergraduate Research and Creativity Symposium. The stipends were awarded by North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (NCICU) to students performing undergraduate research in the areas of science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) fields of study at one of North Carolina's 36 private, non-profit colleges and universities.
The recipients are:
Jenna Dafgek, an Elon University senior from Tolland, CT majoring in Biology;
Nicole De Naeyer, a Meredith College senior from Pinehurst, NC, majoring in Biology;
Cameron Dixon, a St. Andrews University senior from Garrardstown, WV, majoring in Biology; Georgi Krastev, a St. Andrews University senior from Pinellas Park, Florida, majoring in Biology; Abigail Leonard, an N.C. Wesleyan College senior from Tabor City, NC, majoring in Exercise Science;
Christopher Lile, a Gardner-Webb University senior from Boiling Springs, NC, majoring in Biology and Psychology;
Carmen Mesa, a Guilford College junior from Greensboro, NC majoring in Biology;
Crystal Sarnor, a Chowan University senior from Monrovia, Liberia majoring in Biology; and
Lewis Wrenn Woodard, a Chowan University senior from Pendleton, NC, majoring in Biology.
The symposium, a collaboration between NCICU and the University of North Carolina, showcases NC undergraduate student research and creative work, providing undergraduate scholars in all fields a forum to share the results of their work through posters, presentations, performances and works of art. Participants are required to have a faculty advisor who is willing to mentor the student’s participation in the Symposium.
"The research and creative endeavors of these students is amazing, and in some cases, they result in scientific advances that have significant implications," said Hope Williams, president of NCICU. "We look forward to seeing the presentations by these grant recipients along with the work of all the nearly 200 NCICU campus participants."
The 2016 Symposium will take place on Saturday, November 5, at N.C. Central University.
BROYHILL FAMILY FOUNDATION SCHOLARSHIPS
RALEIGH, NC The Broyhill Family Foundation provided a total of $20,000 in scholarships this year to 12 students who attend independent colleges in North Carolina. The scholarships were distributed by The Independent College Fund of North Carolina (ICFNC), a division of North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (NCICU).
Recipients were Jessi Bolinsky of Gastonia and Amanda Tarbush of Shelby, students at Belmont Abbey College; Kailey Layne of Morganton and Jordan Cochran of Mount Holly who attend Gardner-Webb University; Anthony Vita of Midlothian, a student at High Point University; Hayden T. Moses of Greensboro, a student at Lees-McRae College; Everett Christopher McClelland of Winston-Salem and Stefan Ashby of Oak Ridge who attend Lenoir-Rhyne University; Kelsey Poole of Lincolnton, a student at Mars Hill University; Kanza Ibrahim of Cary, a student at Meredith College; Dania Yadago of Winston-Salem who attends Salem College; and Liane Ventura of Mooresville, a student at Warren Wilson College.
The Broyhill Family Foundation has supported North Carolina college students through NCICU for 47 years, with gifts totaling more than $694,000. Dr. A. Hope Williams, president of NCICU, expressed appreciation for the Foundation’s continuing support. “We are so grateful for our continuing partnership of the Broyhill Family Foundation which has resulted in critical scholarships being distributed to our deserving students for nearly 50 years,” said Dr. Williams.
About the Independent College Fund of North Carolina The Independent College Fund of North Carolina, or ICFNC, is the division of North Carolina Independent Colleges & Universities (NCICU) that provides student scholarship aid and enrichment programs. NCICU is a 501(c) 3 non-profit corporation that represents North Carolina’s 36 independent colleges and universities. The mission of NCICU is to support, represent, and advocate for North Carolina independent higher education. NCICU represents independent higher education in the areas of state and federal public policy and on education issues with the other sectors of education in the state. They also provide research and information to and about private colleges and universities, conduct staff development opportunities and coordinate collaborative programs. For more information about NCICU, visit www.ncicu.org.
NCICU AWARDS UPS SCHOLARSHIPS
Raleigh, NC, August 3 -- North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (NCICU) has distributed $96,600 in UPS Scholarships to 36 low-income students at independent colleges and universities in the state. The scholarships were made possible by a grant from the UPS Educational Endowment Fund administered by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) in Washington, DC. “We are deeply appreciative of the partnership with UPS and the Council of Independent Colleges which has resulted in scholarship assistance to deserving students for the past 41 years,” said NCICU President A. Hope Williams. Nationally, CIC and the UPS Foundation teamed up to provide nearly $1.5 million in student scholarships this year, which will be distributed through state-based private college associations around the country. Independent colleges and universities in North Carolina that received UPS Scholarships this year from NCICU include: Barton College Belmont Abbey College Bennett College Brevard College Cabarrus College of Health Sciences Campbell University Catawba College Davidson College Duke University Elon University Gardner-Webb University Greensboro College Guilford College High Point University Johnson C. Smith University Lees-McRae College Lenoir-Rhyne University Livingstone College Louisburg College Mars Hill University Meredith College Methodist University Montreat College N.C. Wesleyan College Pfeiffer University Queens University of Charlotte St. Andrews University Saint Augustine’s University Salem College Shaw University University of Mount Olive Wake Forest University Warren Wilson College William Peace University Wingate University “Helping to make college affordable for students from underserved populations is a truly critical need in our society, and it is rewarding to know that The UPS Foundation is addressing this important issue head-on,” said Richard Ekman, president of CIC. “The independent colleges and universities in this country have a remarkable track record in educating and graduating low-income and first generation students, so it is natural that The UPS Foundation would want to work through CIC and its member institutions in this special scholarship program.” “UPS’s long-standing policies and inclusive culture make it one of the most diverse companies in the world. The UPS Foundation is committed to support effective programs—like the UPS Scholarship program through CIC—that provide diverse populations with advancement opportunities,” said Eduardo Martinez, president of the UPS Foundation. “Key partners such as CIC help to advance our mission. The UPS Scholarship program has made a college education possible for more than 19,000 low-income and first generation students and has had a transformative impact on individual lives, on families, and on communities across this country. UPS and its employees, active and retired, invested more than $110 million in charitable giving around the world, including more than 2.3 million hours of volunteer service, to local communities around the world in 2015.” ### The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) is an association of 765 nonprofit independent colleges and universities and higher education affiliates and organizations that has worked since 1956 to support college and university leadership, advance institutional excellence, and enhance public understanding of private higher education’s contributions to society. CIC is the major national organization that focuses on providing services to leaders of independent colleges and universities as well as conferences, seminars, and other programs that help institutions improve educational quality, administrative and financial performance, and institutional visibility. CIC conducts the largest annual conferences of college and university presidents and of chief academic officers. CIC also provides support to state associations that organize programs and generate contributions for their member colleges and universities. The Council is headquartered at One Dupont Circle in Washington, DC. For more information, visit www.cic.edu. North Carolina Independent Colleges & Universities (NCICU) is a 501(c) 3 non-profit corporation that represents North Carolina’s 36 private colleges and universities. The mission of NCICU is to support, represent, and advocate for North Carolina independent higher education. NCICU represents independent higher education in the areas of state and federal public policy and on education issues with the other sectors of education in the state. It also raises funds for student scholarships and enrichment experiences, provides research and information to and about private colleges and universities, conducts staff development opportunities and coordinates collaborative programs. For more information about NCICU, visit www.ncicu.org.
BARTON COLLEGE WINS NCICU ETHICS BOWL
Raleigh, NC, February 9, 2016 - Barton College won North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities’ fifth annual Ethics Bowl held February 5 and 6 on Meredith College’s campus. Methodist University earned second place in the competition. Twenty-two colleges and universities from throughout North Carolina participated in the event which focused on the theme of Ethics in Technology.
NCICU Distributes Duke Energy Scholarships
(RALEIGH, N.C.) Dec. 15, 2015 – Twenty-three students enrolled at private colleges in North Carolina were selected to receive Duke Energy Foundation Scholarships in the amount of $3,500 for the 2015-2016 academic year. The Duke Energy Foundation contributed $80,500 in scholarship aid this year through the Independent College Fund of NC, a division of North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities. Duke Energy scholarships are awarded to students studying math or science. “Now more than ever before, we need to ensure our students are equipped with knowledge and background in science, technology, engineering and math. Duke Energy is proud to support students pursuing degrees in STEM-related fields,” said David Fountain, Duke Energy’s North Carolina president. “Our long-standing partnership with North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities continues to help strengthen the state’s education-to-workforce pipeline.” Dr. A. Hope Williams, president of North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities, thanked Duke Energy on behalf of the Independent College Fund of North Carolina and the students attending private colleges and universities in North Carolina. “Duke Energy’s support of independent higher education over the past 56 years is deeply appreciated. Their contribution helps prepare students who are seeking STEM jobs, fields that are essential for North Carolina to remain a successful competitor in the global marketplace.”
MetLife STEM Scholarships Awarded for 2015-2016 Academic Year
RALEIGH, NC, NOVEMBER 20, 2015- MetLife has awarded a total of $20,000 in scholarships for the 2015-16 year to North Carolina Independent Colleges including Bennett College, Davidson College, Gardner-Webb University, Greensboro College, Johnson C. Smith University, Meredith College, Methodist University, Queens University of Charlotte, Saint Augustine’s University, and Salem College. The MetLife Scholarship is awarded to students pursuing majors in computer science, information technology, information systems, computer engineering, and math majors as well as business administration majors with a technical minor. A minimum GPA of 3.2 is required as well as campus involvement, work experience, or community experience. About MetLife MetLife, Inc. (NYSE: MET), through its subsidiaries and affiliates (“MetLife”), is one of the largest life insurance companies in the world. Founded in 1868, MetLife is a global provider of life insurance, annuities, employee benefits and asset management. Serving approximately 100 million customers, MetLife has operations in nearly 50 countries and holds leading market positions in the United States, Japan, Latin America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. For more information, visit www.metlife.com. About North Carolina Independent Colleges & Universities The Independent College Fund of North Carolina, or ICFNC, is the division of North Carolina Independent Colleges & Universities (NCICU) that provides student scholarship aid and enrichment programs. NCICU is a 501(c) 3 non-profit corporation that represents North Carolina’s 36 private colleges and universities. The mission of NCICU is to support, represent, and advocate for North Carolina independent higher education. NCICU represents independent higher education in the areas of state and federal public policy and on education issues with the other sectors of education in the state. NCICU also provides research and information, staff development opportunities and collaborative programs for private higher education. For more information about NCICU, visit www.ncicu.org.
Students Awarded Dominion NC Power Scholarship
RALEIGH, NC, November 11, 2015 - Brianna Cooper of Seaboard, Lee Duncan of Margarettsville, Amelia Evans of Roxobel, and William Gurganus of Williamston have each been awarded for the 2015-16 year, a $2,000 scholarship from Dominion NC Power and the Dominion Foundation. The scholarship is part of a partnership with North Carolina Independent Colleges & Universities.
Comprehensive Articulation Agreement
New Independent Comprehensive Articulation Agreement for community college transfer students.
Economic Impact Study Released
NCICU’s 36 campuses and our 66,309 employees had an economic impact. Find the NCICU and combined reports here.
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