Higher Education In A Changing Western North Carolina

The development of UNCA has always been heavily linked to the community and wider nation, even before it was a part of the UNC system.  The adoption of the GI Bill, along with the rapid expansion of a true American middle class, can be clearly documented in my previous history on UNCA, which I’ll elaborate upon here.  The late forties saw a large amount of new legislation reaching Asheville, with lawmakers allocating funds and laying the groundwork for a state-funded school in Buncombe county due to an increased demand for higher education for many citizens.  The fifties and beyond saw an incredible increase in enrollment for the campus, along with it becoming the first two-year college to receive state funds.  Because of the constantly increasing and diverse student body, it was also the originator of the modern day community college system in North Carolina  It was around this time that the offer to join the syndicate of North Carolina universities was made to UNCA.  The campus relocated for a final time after all of these changed were made.  With state funds and a switch to the baccalaureate system, the university remained uncharacteristically stable.  UNCA hasn’t moved or had any major setbacks or structural changes since the early seventies when it was finally adapting and flourishing under a post-GI Bill education system.  Seemingly crucial to the success of the university was its continuing tradition of public education, combatting the wealth of private schools in Western North Carolina at the time.  UNCA seized a prime opportunity to capitalize on a burdening education-seeking middle class, by being a state funded public school that was the only member of the UNC syndicate in the area. While it may have taken some time for UNCA to get it’s footing after major educational changes nationally, it managed to persevere and thrive.  The massification of higher education sweeping across America had a clear, positive effect on the city of Asheville and the university as a whole.


Gumport, Patricia J., et al. “The United States Country Report: Trends in Higher Education from Massification to Post- Massification.” Academic Reforms in the World: Situation and Perspective in the Massification Stage of Higher Education,1997.

“UNCA Timeline.” UNCA.edu. Accessed September 24, 2016.

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