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UNC System announces record enrollment of almost 240,000 students

More students are enrolled in the University of North Carolina System than ever before, according to final enrollment data for this fall semester.

Total enrollment across the UNC System is 239,987 – up 1.3 percent from last year’s previous record of 236,993. Undergraduate enrollment is up 0.9 percent, while graduate enrollment increased by 2.6 percent.

“At a time when attendance at other universities is declining, our enrollment continues to break records,” said UNC System Interim President Bill Roper. “These numbers suggest that our work is having an impact. We are delivering unparalleled education that is more affordable and more accessible to more people.”

A major factor contributing to record enrollment is improved student retention across the system. Moreover, the UNC System has benefited from two initiatives passed by the General Assembly in 2016 that significantly improve college affordability, system officials said. The NC Promise Tuition Plan reduces in-state tuition to $500 per semester and out-of-state tuition to $2,500 per semester at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, Elizabeth City State University and Western Carolina University. Likewise, the fixed tuition program ensures tuition costs will stay the same for North Carolina residents through four years of continuous enrollment at all other UNC System universities.

The number of incoming first-year students and transfers fell slightly, which coincides with a slowdown in the growth of high school graduating classes and a stronger job market. However, the data suggests stronger retention of students at UNC System institutions and other improvements that help students graduate in a timely fashion, officials said.

Information provided by the UNC System Office


UNC System Total Enrollment by Headcount


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