Elizabeth City State University

Returning students might notice bigger crowds this fall at Western Carolina University, UNC Pembroke and Elizabeth City State University; enrollment is up at all three. Officials credit the state’s new NC Promise plan, which lowers tuition for in-state students at the three campuses to $500 per semester.

Lisa Philip / WUNC

The northeast corner of North Carolina, or the Albemarle region, is commonly known as pass-through country for vacationers headed to Virginia or the Outer Banks.

Nearly one resident  in every five lives in poverty, and one in four is over the age of 60, according to local government statistics. Community members say a lack of economic and educational opportunity push and keep young people out.

Elizabeth City State University

After more than half a decade of declining enrollment at Elizabeth City State University, UNC system leaders are convening a working group to focus on boosting student numbers at the historically black university.