UNC System tuition hikes on the table for 2012-13

Posted October 7, 2011
Updated October 9, 2011

— The University of North Carolina Board of Governors began discussions Friday about how much to charge for tuition in the 2012-13 school year and beyond. Although no formal decisions were made, the board and the leaders of the 16 UNC university campuses agreed they would likely have to pass on more of their costs to students. 

"If the state is not able to fund higher education the way they have in the past, we are going to look at the balance between state funding and student funding," said Randy Woodson, chancellor of North Carolina State University.

His counterpart at UNC-Chapel Hill agreed. "While tuition is a last resort for us, we are to the point where we are going to have to talk about using tuition to help Carolina maintain the quality that we've had for all these years," Chancellor Holden Thorp said.

In the past, the Board of Governors has capped tuition hikes at 6.5 percent, or about $300. In the spring, 13 campuses raised tuition by that much, while the rest saw smaller rates of increase.

This time around, Thorp said, the board could make some exceptions. Each school will be compared to peer institutions across the country when chancellors consider how much of a hike to propose.

"When we look at our peers, we already have one of the lowest faculty salaries in our group, and we have one of the lowest tuitions in our group," Woodson said.

Students 'stop out' when tuition gets too high Students 'stop out' when tuition gets too high

The belt-tightening at the state level over the past couple of years has trickled down to students, Atul Bhula, the student representative, told the board on Friday.

"I'm afraid that if they do raise tuition by a certain amount, then we are going to see a lot more students dropping out," he said.

Bhula, who attends Appalachian State University and is president of the UNC Association of Student Governments, represents students on all the campuses.  

"I've had a couple of friends actually, and they've had to 'stop out' for various reasons," Bhula said. He defined the trend as students who quit school so they can work to try and save money to return and finish a degree. 

Students who "stop out" worry UNC System President Tom Ross as well. He said a portion of any tuition increase would be set aside to be funneled back to financial aid.

"There may be room for some tuition increase that would allow us to direct those dollars to the campuses to focus on faculty, staff and financial aid," he said.

Ross said the board would consider phasing in any tuition hike so that the impact on students and family budgets would be more gradual.

"We need to be sure, above all else, that we have access and affordability, but we also have excellence," Ross said.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • more cowbell Oct 7, 2011

    Gots to pay them attorneys to bail out the atheletic programs somehow. May as well let mom and pop pay.

  • Tax Man Oct 7, 2011

    Residents of NC should have their college degrees from state universities and colleges at no expense. Out of state and out of country (illegals included) should pay full freight as they are not taxpayers. If parents or students have paid NC taxes, income and property, for 5 years or more, their kids should be able to attend state colleges and universities at no cost. Use the GA model - all money from the lottery pays for in state college. Of course they still need to qualify based on grades/SAT, but if eligible they should have the tuition waived if they are state residents (legal).

  • RM24 Oct 7, 2011

    Nothing feels better than making those college loan payments until your 60yrs old.

  • superman Oct 7, 2011

    Why go to college? There are no jobs. Thousands of college graduates are without work. About the only jobs available are in fast food. Why dont people think ahead and try to figure out their own way of being able to support their children. Public welfare and public education-- there is no difference between the two. Just the poor getting fed and supported by the others of us who work.

  • miseem Oct 7, 2011

    Right. Let's stop all public support of higher education. In fact, let's stop public support of any education. They are your kids, you pay for their school. That's the American way, correct? That's what led to American ascendancy in the 20th Century, a bunch of illiterate uneducated workers, correct? Affordable higher education has been a cornerstone of what had been a large American middle class, from land grant colleges to the GI bill to Pell grants. No program or activity that covers millions of people over the years is exempt from some participants taking advantage of the assistance. Some students play the system, but corporations do also. I can point to a lot of capitalists that have committed the same fraud - Enron, AIG, MCI, lots of investment houses.

  • Rebelyell55 Oct 7, 2011

    It's all in the plan man, those that can do and those the can't serve the ones that can. Been that way since the start of man scribbling on the cave wall..

  • common_sense_plz Oct 7, 2011

    Wow the UNC system just increased last year and here they go again. It will be so unaffordable by the timemine gets to college in 4 years that it will be difficult to send her, but she going to go!!

  • stonky Oct 7, 2011

    No free ride in this world

  • SaveEnergyMan Oct 7, 2011

    Fact: tuition+fees have increased by a factor of 7 over the last 25 years, but prices for everyday items (CPI) have only doubled. Where is the money? The faculty certainly isn't getting it (no raise in the last 4 years). I want to know if state funding has decreased or if costs have really increased that much (and how).

    I also wonder if judge Manning would uphold the tuition for in-state students being "free or at the lowest practical cost" - as quoted from the State Constitution, or if he's just interested in politics?

  • gingerlynn Oct 7, 2011

    affirmative diversity - exactly. I have 2 at ECU who get NO aid even though one year I was out of work. They eat raman noodles at home while their peers order pizza and buy with pell grant money that was deposited in their student account (which is tied to a MasterCard). These kids have barely 2.0 grades. We pay about half (which is very difficult) and the rest they pay for with loans and try to eat with summer earnings. Oh and both are on honor roll and will not be having to take any classes two or three times on the backs of taxpayers.