Education

Friday: UNC system needs to make do with less

Posted January 11, 2012

— Longtime University of North Carolina President Bill Friday said Wednesday that he would prefer that the system's 16 university campuses make the needed cuts to staff and programs to avoid the hefty tuition increases they have proposed.

Friday is backing an effort by at least 20 former members of the system's Board of Governors to urge the current board to reject tuition increases requested by every campus for the coming year.

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

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

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.

Because state lawmakers didn't adequately fund higher education, Friday said, it's up to university administrators to make tough decisions. He suggested cutting course offerings and increasing class sizes.

"That's not the best thing, but it's the choice that has to be made, and you make it because you don't have any other way of doing it," he said.

Former UNC leader calls for larger classes, lower tuition

Large tuition increases shouldn't be considered, he said, noting UNC campuses requested an increase only once during his 30 years as president. Lawmakers imposed increases in other years, he said.

"It can be done. We did it," Friday said of making do without raising tuition.

The North Carolina constitution mandates that university tuition be kept as low as possible for in-state students, and Friday said the proposed tuition increases disregard that.

"The constitution is quite explicit," he said. "Keeping these institutions strong and vital and open is the future of North Carolina."

Students had mixed feelings on trading lower tuition payments for larger classes.

"Personally, I learn better in a small classroom environment, so that's what I prefer," said Maria Lopez, a freshman at N.C. State.

"I've been in some large classes, some small classes, and they both worked out fine for me. So, for me, that would be fine," N.C. State freshman Currey Nobles said.

9 Comments

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  • DavyCrockett Jan 12, 4:42 p.m.

    Boy, you can sure easily pick out the entitlemant mentality nannystaters in the Comments crowd, can't you?

  • ncdixie1 Jan 12, 12:59 p.m.

    Bravo superman! Nicely put. Now if we could just get those powers that be to listen.

  • superman Jan 12, 8:49 a.m.

    A word of advice to parents-- if you cant afford to educate your children-it is way too late to worry about it now. You should have put more thought and planning before you had children. As a taxpayer, it is not my responsibility to educate your children. Education should be like toll roads--the ones who go to school and college should pay their way. Public education is the same as public welfare-others are paying for your benefits. Get off public welfare and pay for your own childs education. If you have children in public school or college you are on welfare.

  • GK N.Ral Jan 12, 8:33 a.m.

    Dr. Friday's 15 minutes was up a long time ago. He and the former members of the Board of Governors need to enjoy their retirement and stay out of the current administrations business. Why does everyone get so intelligent after they leave a job? Friday laid the groundwork for the current problems by allowing useless expansion and unnecessary programs>

  • SaveEnergyMan Jan 11, 7:44 p.m.

    Bless you Dr. Friday. No one will be able to afford to send their child to a UNC school at the rate we're going. Tuition and fees have increased sevenfold in the last 25 years (

  • Alex25 Jan 11, 7:32 p.m.

    Taxpayers are sick of the burden.

    Want to go to college? Save and pay for it yourself. And Govt loans are not helping.

  • penny for your thoughts Jan 11, 7:20 p.m.

    I'm an employee at UNC-Chapel Hill and think we can do with less as well. There should be a happy median, and it certainly has not been met yet in the cut area...

  • citizensoldier16 Jan 11, 7:07 p.m.

    Looks like Mr. Friday agrees with North Carolinians across the board.

  • carrboroyouth Jan 11, 6:41 p.m.

    "It can be done. We did it," Friday said of making do without raising tuition."

    Thank you Bill Friday! I wish you were still on the board.