UNC president recommends smaller tuition increases

Posted January 25, 2012

— University of North Carolina President Tom Ross has called for tuition increases at the system's 16 university campuses to average 8.8 percent next year, according to a memo released Wednesday.

Ross is expected to recommend the increases, which average $470 for in-state undergraduates, to the UNC Board of Governors at the board's Feb. 10 meeting.

Several campuses have asked to raise tuition far above a 6.5 percent annual cap the Board of Governors installed several years ago. UNC-Chapel Hill, for example, proposed raising tuition by 40 percent over the next five years, while North Carolina State University wants to increase tuition and fees by 10.4 percent next year and more in subsequent years.

Officials at the various schools say they need the added tuition revenue to make up for deep cuts in state funding in recent years, which have forced them to eliminate staff positions and programs.

The tuition proposals prompted a backlash from longtime UNC President Bill Friday and at least 20 former members of the Board of Governors. The group urged the current board to reject the hefty increases, citing the state constitution, which calls for keeping tuition as low as possible so the cost of higher education doesn't prevent people from pursuing a degree.

"There is no doubt in my mind that every UNC campus can demonstrate real and pressing needs for increased funding," Ross said in memo to current board members, noting that the state budget cut the UNC system's budget by $414 million in the past year.

"Cuts of that magnitude simply cannot be offset by tuition alone."

He approved the requests of the nine UNC campuses seeking to raise tuition by less than 10 percent, but he pared back the other seven so they also were under that threshold.

UNC Tuition Increase UNC tuition increase proposal displeases students, campuses

Under his recommendations, in-state undergraduate tuition at UNC-Chapel Hill would go up by 9.9 percent next year, to $7,500, while N.C. State would increase by 9.8 percent, to $7,644.

Ross said his tuition recommendations would generate $70 million in total revenue for the campuses, which would make up about 17 percent of last year's state cuts.

"This modest infusion of new revenues will help to stabilize campus operations and give our campuses limited relief from years of continuous budget cuts," he said.

N.C. State Chancellor Randy Woodson said Ross' recommended increase would produce $7.5 million for his campus. That compares with $67 million in state cuts last year, he said.

"It's certainly not an attempt to put all of these budgetary demands on the backs of students, but it certainly is a reflection of our desire and need, frankly, to keep the university strong," Woodson said of plans to raise tuition.

Some students don't see it the same way, though.

"I don't think we should get any more increases because I don't think we're getting any more benefit for the money," said Zac Cawthorn, a junior at N.C. State.

He also turned aside plans laid out by some campuses to stretch out large increases over five years. Instead, he proposed limiting requests to two years.

"A two-year plan would better enable families and students to plan and give our campuses an opportunity to stabilize for the future," he said. "I believe we should wait, however, to see what additional savings can be realized through efficiencies, consolidations and collaborations and whether or not additional state resources become available before considering additional increases."

The increases he recommended for 2013-14 would average 4.2 percent, or $248. They would range from a low of no increase at Fayetteville State University to a high of 8.2 percent at the UNC School of the Arts.

"I believe that these recommendations balance the campuses’ demonstrated need for increased resources with the limited ability of many students and families to sustain further tuition increases in this tough economy," he said.


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  • geosol Jan 25, 2012

    Some right winger actually wrote: "May Ross did listen to Obama and he knows that everything that comes out of his mouth is a bunch of bull so he has no fear of the tax dollars being cut. Especially, since the UNC system is one of the most liberal schools in the country."

    BRILLIANT!!! This explains why right wingers hate education so much, doesn't it? REMEMBER IN NOVEMBER AND VOTE AGAINST ALL REPUBLICANS IN EVERY RACE!!!!

  • vraptor Jan 25, 2012

    Stop making tax contributions to public colleges and make them make a profit. The pork will be cut and the costs will come down.


    university employees are getting rich off the backs of the students and the tax payers.

  • Ex-Republican Jan 25, 2012

    How about UNC top administration pay decreases to offset the tuition increases?

  • babedan Jan 25, 2012

    May Ross did listen to Obama and he knows that everything that comes out of his mouth is a bunch of bull so he has no fear of the tax dollars being cut. Especially, since the UNC system is one of the most liberal schools in the country.

  • hp277 Jan 25, 2012

    Hey Tom Ross - you need to resign. Your tuition increase is embarrassing. But before you go, please fire Holden Thorp.

  • Alex25 Jan 25, 2012

    TUITION INFLATION...thanks to Tenured Faculty, too many useless curricula and studies -- and 100s of Vice Chancellors.

  • Prep4Life Jan 25, 2012

    So... what's going on here? Is the state taking monies away from the universities, or are the universities trying to make more money... OR BOTH!?!?!?

  • federalsales2 Jan 25, 2012

    I guess this guy didn't listen to Obama last night on TV,, Which what he said makes cents. Raise the prices you can not go to school and the losers are the everyone,,, wake up college people,,you are over paid now,,but want more!!!!!!!

  • Desiderata Jan 25, 2012

    Why do they not just take the salary of those top officials and use that to pay the tuition increase. The top dogs are just worthless creatures anyway..who really needs the football or basketball if the money they put into the coaches and games went towards tuition... Money hungry university officials ,,,

  • MakoII Jan 25, 2012

    I think it's time to start recording lectures and fire Professors. When you have 1 professor teaching 300 kids, what's the point of even having that one professor? Tape lectures from the BEST professors in the country. Offer up people online to be available to answer student's questions. People from Private Industry and around the world.

    We need to get smart and USE the Internet and Social media to bring down costs. The model of sitting in a classroom is outdated, wasteful, and clearly not productive for most graduates who can't even find a job!