ECU raises major concerns about deferred admission program

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Big changes are coming to university admissions in our state.

UNC system administrators are hammering out the details for a new deferred admissions program impacting thousands of students this year. But not everyone is supporting this.

The NC Guaranteed Admission Program, or GAP, would divert students considered at academic risk to study at a community college for 2 years. They’d earn an associate degree, then have guaranteed admission to a UNC school.

Supporters say this plan helps both students and the state save money, but universities are raising some concerns.

The UNC and community college systems are working on specifics.

ECU administrators tell WNCT that NC GAP could take away as much as a quarter of their freshman class. ECU Provost Ron Mitchelson says he’s heard it could drop enrollment by a thousand students in the first year, costing ECU around $15 million.

“We certainly believe in choice. The community college option is less expensive than the university system option. But students know that already, and their choice to come to a 4 year school is usually pretty well founded and we’d like to support that choice,” Dr. Mitchelson said.

Some are worried whether or not community colleges will be able to handle the increased enrollment. Pitt Community College’s Thomas Gould says their goal is to prepare more students for the workforce, and NC GAP would accomplish that.

“It would involve certainly some logistical issues that we would have to deal with, but we’re an open door institution so if the students are willing to come, we’re willing to make room for them,” Dr. Gould said.

The program’s logistics are due to the General Assembly by March 1. Legislators could make some changes, but NC GAP will go into effect next year.

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