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A New Tuition Plan And Big Hopes For Robeson County

headshot of chancellor cummings
Courtesy of UNCP

Retired surgeon and former state Medicaid Director Robin Gary Cummings took office as chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Pembroke in 2015. Cummings is a Pembroke native and member of the Lumbee Tribe. His tenure has been marked by efforts to expand economic and educational opportunities for residents of Robeson County, which has one of the highest poverty rates in the country.

UNC at Pembroke is one of three campuses participating in the new NC Promise plan, a reduced tuition program starting this fall, which will decrease the total annual price for in-state students at the university by 15 percent. The university is also several steps closer to establishing a college of health sciences, which would add a number of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs including public health, nutrition, and rural health equity.

Educating American Indian students is a challenge. [High school teachers] tell us if you take their students and just put them down on campus and there's no support or family, they're not going to survive.- Chancellor Cummings

Host Frank Stasio talks with Chancellor Cummings about the challenges and opportunities of leading a public institution initially founded to serve the Lumbee people. He outlines the school’s modern-day focus on driving economic and educational development in southeastern North Carolina.


Anita Rao is an award-winning journalist, host, creator, and executive editor of "Embodied," a weekly radio show and podcast about sex, relationships & health.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.
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