Higher Education Works will "remind both citizens and elected officials that our public universities and community colleges have helped distinguish this state from other states and it is worth preserving them as gems," said David Rice, the new group's executive director.
Rice is a former newspaper reporter turned lobbyist who has represented Citizens for Higher Education – a booster group the primarily promotes University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – at the legislature since 2005.
"This is a much broader and more diverse group than Citizens," Rice said. "This will be an effort on behalf of all 17 campuses of the university system, as well as the community colleges."
Taxpayers subsidize education at both state-run universities and community colleges. For example, taxpayer support for the UNC system is roughly $2.5 billion this year, or about 12 percent of the taxpayer spending across the entire state budget.