How One Institution Created a Blueprint for  Improving Student Equity Across Campus


How One Institution Created a Blueprint for Improving Student Equity Across Campus

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Research University


The University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNC Charlotte) is a research university with a total enrollment of 30,500 and a six-year graduation rate of 66%. UNC Charlotte’s mission statement pledges to have a local and global impact and create an inclusive academic environment.

Quick Facts

32% of first-time, full-time undergraduates are Pell Grant recipients

85% retention rate for first-time, bachelor’s students

30,500 total enrollment

The Challenge

UNC Charlotte leaders decided to audit their institutional policies with equity in mind in response to the pandemic and civil unrest of 2020. They lacked a framework for reviewing policies through an “equity lens” and were unsure how to communicate their goals to relevant stakeholders. Additionally, UNC Charlotte’s unwritten policies, such as declaring a major and course sequences, posed barriers for student success.

The Solution

UNC Charlotte used EAB’s 360-Degree Student Equity Audit framework to identify inequitable institution-level policies and how to communicate updates to stakeholders. One-on-one meetings with EAB subject matter experts helped them find solutions to the biggest concerns unearthed by the audit.

The Results

UNC Charlotte identified inequitable institutional policies and codified unwritten rules into formal procedures with student-friendly language. They also adapted the EAB 360-Degree Student Equity Audit to review department-level practices annually.

Impact Highlights

0 in 10

Policies identified as inequitable


Of inequitable institution-level policies have been or are in the process of being revised or replaced

Overcoming Barriers to Student Success

Prior to EAB's Audit

  1. Lack of framework for reviewing institutional policies through an equity lens
  2. Difficulty developing goals for policy review due to lack of shared definition of “equity review”
  3. Department-level policies can be inconsistent and contain unwritten rules that confuse students and widen the equity gap

After EAB's Audit

  1. UNC Charlotte is equipped with a formal process for analyzing institution-level policies with both equity and pandemic context in mind
  2. UNC Charlotte has shared language to clearly communicate what equitable policies look like to all stakeholders, making buy-in easier
  3. EAB’s 360-Degree Student Equity Audit was adapted to audit policies at the department level. Department audits will now be conducted annually

EAB’s Research-Backed Equity Tools

360-Degree Student Equity Audit Findings Across Higher Ed


Gap in basic needs insecurity between Black and White students


Of low-income students more likely to delay graduation
Improve Student Equity

Audit your institution’s existing strategies to promote student equity and implement new initiatives with confidence using EAB’s 360-Degree Student Equity Audit

Take Action on Campus

Assess the state of DEIJ on your campus and prioritize the work that matters most with the Institutional Strategy Index for DEIJ

Talk with an Expert

Request more information about how you can work with EAB to close institutional equity gaps and increase student success


One of the best outcomes from EAB’s equity audit is that our departments are having conversations and intentionally thinking about student equity as they make policy updates. This will build a healthy routine of self-reflection and lead to a more equitable environment.

Dr. Leslie Zenk, Assistant Provost

University of North Carolina at Charlotte


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