Former UNC system leaders opposed to tuition increases

Posted January 10, 2012

— At least 20 former members of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors are asking the current board to reject requests for hefty tuition increases at several campuses in the UNC system.

The group signed a three-page statement that was being sent to the board before it meets Thursday in Chapel Hill. The board isn't expected to vote on any tuition proposals until February, at the earliest.

UNC-Chapel Hill has proposed raising tuition by 40 percent over the next five years, while North Carolina State University wants to increase tuition by 9 percent next year and more in subsequent years. East Carolina University, North Carolina Central University and other campuses are also seeking increases in excess of a 6.5 percent cap put in place several years ago.

University officials say they need the added revenue to make up for deep cuts in state funding in recent years, which have forced them to cut staff and programs.

Lillington attorney William Johnson, who served on the Board of Governors for nearly 20 years and was chairman from 1976 to 1980, said Tuesday that he believes the current board's responsibility is to keep tuition as low as possible.

In the statement to the Board of Governors, Johnson cites the North Carolina constitution's mandate that "the benefits of the University of North Carolina ... be extended as far as practicable ... to the people of the state free of expense."

William Johnson, former UNC Board of Governors chairman Ex-Board of Governors chair: UNC should keep tuition low

"Those people who coined those words had the foresight and the vision to recognize the importance of a system of higher education that would be made, hopefully, available to all our boys and girls," he said.

He has the support of 20 former Board of Governors members, and he said he expects more to join the effort. Longtime UNC President Bill Friday also signed the statement.

Johnson said he would rather see campuses cut costs and keep the price of education down than increase the cost and pass that burden to students and their families.

"What I am suggesting is that the Board of Governors and other persons who have responsibility in this area need to be sure that we are not financing programs that don't produce an appropriate return to the university," he said.

He also called on the public to pressure the General Assembly to properly fund the UNC system so that large tuition increases wouldn't be necessary.


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  • ecualumni1982 Jan 11, 2012

    It seems weird that the largest schools with the most diverse funding sources are asking for tuition increases, but the small colleges are'nt. And, does it really matter, reguardless of the 6 or even 15% tuition increase, the parents of these kids are going to pay for the big name University degree. Its not like they are going to take their kids out of UNC and send them to Devry or make them drop out to work at McDonalds.

  • whatelseisnew Jan 11, 2012

    "and secondly out of line with that that could be earned in private industry (again they are not)."

    Yes they are. They should be paid much lower than private sector. Unfortunately the throwing of billions of dollars of taxpayer money into the kitty has eliminated any need to be cost conscience and thus has driven tuition ever higher. Aside from that their is the ripoff of higher and higher fees, higher and higher book costs and ridiculous housing costs. Government has destroyed the cost of schooling, housing and medical.

  • whatelseisnew Jan 11, 2012

    It is time to cut back on the expenses at these institutions. Time for pay cuts, benefit cuts and a significant cut in employees. It is time for Government to discontinue subsidizing college. Without market forces in play, demand has been skewed. That translates to the ability to demand ridiculous price-tags without worrying about being able to fill the seats in the classrooms.

  • davidbh61255 Jan 11, 2012

    The prof's only write papers to get paid and published anymore. Their assistants get comped with free education and board!!

  • haggis basher Jan 11, 2012

    "But 30% salary raises between 2005-2010-when inflation was over all maybe 10% in those years. "

    Maybe 10%? what? you don't know? and why 2005-2010 how about over a longer period to even out short term effects?

  • haggis basher Jan 11, 2012

    "@haggis basher... I'm not going down the "class warfare" road. My point was not the amount of salary but the amount of increase. Simple."

    well then show that the increases are much over the rate of inflation (they are not) and secondly out of line with that that could be earned in private industry (again they are not).

  • haggis basher Jan 11, 2012

    "Public education in schools and colleges should be like tol roads. The people who go to school and college should be the ones paying."

    It is. They earn more and pay more taxes as a result.

  • haggis basher Jan 11, 2012

    "UNC and our legislature must work together to solve this-now."

    Fat chance of that. This legislature has no interest whatsoever in Public education. Why should they care? The rich can send their kids to Duke or Wake Forrest and the rest of us are just cheap labor.

  • WolfPackAlum Jan 11, 2012

    >>"2004-5 school year UNC-CH professor average salary $112,700. 2009-10 school year UNC-CH professor average salary $143,000. Rationalize however you like. How many on this forum had an increase of 30% in their salary in the same time frame?

    A 5% annual salary increase is hardly extravagant. Nor is a $143K salary for an individual holding a PHd and 20+ years of professional experience.

  • WolfPackAlum Jan 11, 2012

    >>"The people who go to school and college should be the ones paying."

    We already do, and continue to do so for the entirety of our careers.

    >>"People getting something while the rest of us pay."

    Actually, given the much higher average salaries of workers with a college degree, it is actually them paying for the benefits received by those not paying enough taxes to cover the benefits they receive. Most college grads begin paying a net positive into the system as soon as they land a job. Break-even household income level is currently ~$54K/yr. Average income for households with a college degree is $73K/yr. Generally speaking, if you are taking in less than the break-even, you are the one being paid for.