State universities in North Carolina are restricted in the number of students they can enroll who live outside the state. The general limit is to cap out-of-state enrollment at 18 percent. A year ago, the five historically Black state universities in North Carolina were permitted to raise that threshold to 25 percent. This was done so the HBCUs could increase overall enrollments and therefore revenue.
Earlier this year, the thresholds were further increased for three state-operated HBCUs. North Carolina A&T State University and North Carolina Central University can now enroll 35 percent of their student bodies from outside the state. Elizabeth City State University, located just 40 miles from the Virginia border in the northeastern corner of North Carolina, can now enroll half of its student body from outside the state.
But despite the new thresholds, North Carolina A&T State University was recently fined $2 million for exceeding its out-of-state enrollment threshold. In 2021, 41 percent of all students were from outside North Carolina. The board of governors expressed regret about having to issue the fine but said the rule was established for a purpose and had to be enforced. The board said they would reexamine the issue for future years.
The fine will be allocated to the Need-Based Grant Financial Program of the University of North Carolina System.
A university spokesperson said that “the university has expressed regret over exceeding the cap. We have put oversight enhancements in place to prevent this from happening again.”