Chapel Hill, N.C. — A University of North Carolina Board of Governors committee on Thursday recommended raising tuition and fees at all campuses by an average of 8.8 percent. The full board will vote Friday, and then it will go before lawmakers.
The Budget and Finance Committee agreed with UNC President Tom Ross' recommendation to raise tuition and fees by more than $400 on average for the 2012-13 school year.
"Our board is struggling. We are all struggling with this decision," Ross said.
Student groups from across the state are planning to march Friday, just before the Board of Governors votes on the proposed increases.
"This has not been an easy process at all," said board chairwoman Hannah Gage. "As I said, we've got members of our board that wanted zero percent. We've got members of our board that thought the market should drive and it should go as high as possible."
The cost increases Ross recommended are well below what some campus leaders said they needed and will make up just 17 percent of the $414 million cut by state legislators last year.
The budget cut forced the 16 university campuses and the School of Science and Math in Durham to drop more than 3,000 employees, cut library hours at Appalachian State University and UNC-Wilmington and prevent hundreds of North Carolina Central University students from enrolling in general education math courses, according to a UNC system report.
Undergraduate North Carolina resident students pay an average tuition and fees of $5,294 a year, not including books and living expenses. It is higher at the system's two flagship schools, with UNC-Chapel Hill students paying $6,823 and North Carolina State University charging $6,964.
The bills would increase by 4.3 percent, or $199, next year at UNC-Pembroke. At the high end, costs would rise by 9.9 percent at UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC-Asheville, Winston-Salem State University, Western Carolina University and the UNC School of the Arts. That means tuition increases ranging from $447 at WSSU to $676 at UNC-Chapel Hill.
The average increase would be less than the 9.3 percent hike approved last year. The university board has wrestled with overshooting a self-imposed limit on tuition increases of 6.5 percent a year.
Ross proposed increasing tuition by another 4.2 percent on average for the 2013-14 academic year, though Fayetteville State University students would see no further increase.
Out-of-state undergraduate students can expect an increase next fall averaging 5.2 percent, increasing their bill by $923, to $17,995. Campuses are generally limited to admitting no more than 18 percent of a freshman class' students from outside North Carolina.