She said it-I didn’t “So you better think twice before you think an expensive education is what’s going to get you a job…” Watch below #SuzeSaidIt

Ok, listen…At a certain point if you can’t beat them- join them…and play the game better than them. Recently, North Carolina’s legislation proposed a bill to “make college more affordable”. However, many see it as the Governors attempt to dismantle and defund NC HBCUs. The bill proposed to slash tuition at 5 of the UNC systems colleges, 3 of which were Historically Black Colleges/Universities. The amended bill passed to include only 3 colleges, 1 of which is an HBCU; ECSU. As an alumni, I rightfully have an opinion but more so because everyone else seems to have a grand plan as to what to do with the 125 year old institution established for teachers only 26 years after it was illegal and punishable by death to even TEACH a slave to read…(breath)… but I digress.

The only way ECSU will survive the Governors attempt to cut cost everywhere he can (and it’s clear that’s his agenda- has been since 2012) is to get everyone else to buy into the pilot program. To be honest you can’t fault anyone who wants to stop pumping funds into a business that’s not producing revenue. After all, that’s his job right? But to be fair, it is a dramatic change with no conclusive backup plan. Nevertheless, if Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) and Fayetteville State University (FSU) would have bought into this program- this probably would not have been very beneficial to ECSU. Now, ECSU has a golden opportunity to set a standard and become a leader in a new era of affordable education OR crash and burn.  The biggest problem Elizabeth City faces now, is simply getting people to understand what’s best for them. I know it sounds crazy. As the FSU chancellor stated “… if someone offers to sell you a $500 car, wouldn’t you question it’s value?” Of course you would. It just seems too good to be true. When I first heard of the proposed tuition cut, I was offended. Yes, I thought “something doesn’t seem right” I even asked a few high school students their opinion and their response was “it seems like you’re getting a cheap degree.” But why? When you really think about it, why do we think it’s a bad thing to get the same thing someone else has for less. Is it because you think they will look at your resume and say “oh ECSU- that’s the college with the cheap tuition?” I doubt it. In reality, it’s a hood rich mentality. ECSU students would graduate with a head start to financial freedom. Isn’t that the goal anyway after college? Graduates will also have a better debt to income ratio which would put them in a better position to attain all those “other” goals folks attend college for; house, car, travel. TIME magazine has even recongnized this; “50 Best Colleges for African Americans”. According to this article “These schools offer high value…” the list includes Elizabeth City State University amoungst the likes of Howard, Yale and NC A&T. The White House said it even better, “Higher education is the single-most important investment that Americans can make in their futures”

It’s hard for people to go against the status quo- people would rather sit and suffer with everyone else rather than stand up and show them how to survive. That’s social conformity and that’s how systematic oppression is perpetuated. Some folks initial response after reading this is that “they are trying to shut the college down. They know it’s going to be almost impossible to increase revenue after they have crippled our ability to make revenue”….well that may very well be true but change your perspective. It’s basically a challenge, sink or swim.

Swimming Lessons

  • Don’t play politics and be against this bill because you don’t agree with the current legislation. That is simply a recipe for demise. Why? Because the ship has already sailed. Sure, we could pressure legislation to repeal the bill but it’s clear where the University stands.
  • There’s the question of how viable is the pilot program for ECSU? Again, it will only work if students actually enroll in the University. That’s the gamble. So, now the million-dollar question becomes…how do we convince students to enroll? My list is so extensive at this point- it will require an entire other post (Email me
  • Push the system for more merit based scholarships to be awarded to potential students.
  • Promote ECSU’s Aviation Science Program. There is a growing market for aviation science and we are the only college in NC and one of very few HBCU’s in the county to offer this program.
  • Promote ECSU’s Pharmacy Doctoral program partnership with UNC Chapel Hill.
  • and the list goes on