But campuses didn't always have the resources to help all the students who came in, many of whom were the first in their families to go to college. Often, these students dropped out of college.
The change would tie enrollment growth funding directly to a series of academic markers such as retention rates, graduation rates and how long it takes students to graduate.
"We need to make sure people graduate - and graduate with diplomas that mean something," said UNC President Erskine Bowles.
A campus's retention rate - the percentage of students who return to college after their freshman year - would be key under the proposed change. Each campus has a retention target to hit, and if it misses, its enrollment could be limited or even frozen.