With the growth in the education sector, the state government has always increased its funds in recent years even with the rising amount of inflation and huge population explosion. Even the political parties have maintained that the universities were an engine for better economic growth and equated the sector growth with the achievement of the American dream with diverse backgrounds. High appropriations were released with the thought that it would boost the access of students to college and even improve the state economy. North Carolina has a reputation of outspending compared to other states and US on the whole on higher education.
However, most analysts suggest that the data of higher education statistics show a different picture altogether. There has been huge increase in taxpayer support, but the state has not covered up the gap with the national average in the proportion of people with college degrees. Tuition costs have reached an all-time high while a huge portion of the funds have been allocated to non-instructional activities.
Lack of transparency is what prevents the causes to be known and questions to be answered. It has been difficult to assess what the students in North Carolina colleges and universities have achieved in their study period. Have their skills improved? Has their conduct improved? In general, not even the parents and teachers are aware about the answers to these questions.Higher education is equated with high costs and inefficiency. It is hard to measure productivity other than looking at outcomes. With the rising subsidies of the government, there were two major cases for public subsidy which were equality of opportunity and externality.
The equality of opportunity argument suggests that universities are potent vehicles for promoting the egalitarian ideal that has permeated American society since its beginning. Any person, even from the humblest beginnings, can rise to the top in our meritocracy-driven society. College degrees have become near prerequisite for economic success. Yet, college is costly. Public subsidies enable poor individuals equitable chance to attend college like their rich peers, which is otherwise not possible with the high fees demanded by these colleges.
It is also said that the society will be able to function better if bulk of the populace is not only educated but also opts for higher education. Analysts say that there are positive economic spillover effects with promotion of higher education by North Carolina Community Colleges and Universities. Higher spending in schools has also indicated an increase in college graduates.