RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Margaret Spellings is now in her fourth month as president of the University of North Carolina system.
During that time, she visited the system’s 17 campuses, where she heard concerns about affordability.
“I heard over and over concerns about affordability,” Spellings said. “Time is money in higher education, just as in every other enterprise, and what we need to make sure we do is get students in and out of college as quickly and effectively and productively as possible.”
Spellings is also keeping her eyes on the General Assembly, where lawmakers are putting the finishing touches on the state budget.
“Primarily and most importantly, we want them to give the staff and faculty who work so hard and so diligently and so effectively for students a raise,” Spellings said of the General Assembly.
Spellings said another issue within the system is efficiency.
“When I see students who are graduating with 20 and 30 more hours than they need to have had, that’s a waste of time and money,” Spellings said. “So, yes, we can keep an eye on tuition and fees as we should and always do, but we really need to look at that throughout.”
And, in recent months, the UNC system has found itself in the middle of the controversy surrounding House Bill 2.
Spellings said the lawsuit surrounding HB2 is creating potential issues when students return to class.
“Just thinking about what are the potential scenarios that we might be dealing with when the students are back in school and what are the timelines that we might be facing in dealing with these issues,” Spellings said.
She said lawyers have been hired and are beginning their defense of the UNC system.
The UNC Board of Governors asked the attorney general’s office to pay for its HB2 legal costs.
So far, Spellings said she has not received a response.