Capital Connections: 2014 Legislative Agenda Preview

The North Carolina General Assembly session convenes in May, and we are hard at work making our agenda known to legislators. These priorities involve budget allocations that will enable UNC Charlotte to fulfill its role as a regional economic force, sustain its current growth trajectory and continue its commitment to providing students with a quality academic experience.

Allocating money for state employee raises is a recurring agenda item. UNC Charlotte faculty and staff have only received one raise of 1.2 percent in the last five years.  This cripples our ability to retain and compete for top talent, which has implications on economic growth and job creation, as faculty research sparks innovation that can be commercialized by industry partners.

Another funding priority that involves driving economic growth is the Data Science and Business Analytics (DSBA or Big Data) initiative. The program has benefitted from private giving and ongoing partnerships with Belk, Bank of America, Lowe’s and Carolinas HealthCare, but state investment is critical to hire faculty and staff.

UNC Charlotte is currently bucking national and statewide enrollment trends. While other schools are seeing their numbers decline, demand for UNC Charlotte is rapidly ascending, reflecting the Charlotte region’s growth. Freshman applications for 2014 are currently up 11 percent  over 2013 and increased 65 percent from 2008-2013. Additional funding is crucial if UNC Charlotte is to accommodate the increased interest.

As students are increasingly drawn to UNC Charlotte, the demand for the sciences is also outpacing capacity. $12 million in planning funds for a much-needed new science building is the top capital priority this year.

UNC Charlotte relies on support of its alumni, friends in business, the Charlotte community and regional partners to influence legislation that promotes our continued success and growth.  Contact Betty Doster at 704-608-9382 or to discuss reaching out to legislators with whom you have strategic relationships. Your support of UNC Charlotte and higher education makes a difference.