UNC system officials review proposed tuition increases

Posted January 7, 2010

— The University of North Carolina Board of Governors on Thursday reviewed requests for tuition increases from the system's 16 campuses.

The annual process is somewhat different this year because the General Assembly set guidelines for tuition increases as part of negotiations last summer to erase a record deficit and reach a budget agreement. Usually, schools make requests based on their needs, and the Board of Governors makes adjustments.

UNC President Erskine Bowles Bowles pushes to keep tuition money on campus

Under the General Assembly's guidelines, a UNC campus must raise tuition for the 2010-11 school year by the lesser of 8 percent or $200. The extra money would go back to the state's General Fund, not the schools.

UNC President Erskine Bowles has proposed an alternative that would send the money to the schools, with half of it earmarked for need-based financial aid.

"The people getting squeezed are those in the middle," Bowles said, noting many middle-class families don't qualify for some forms of financial aid and wind up struggling to pay for their children's college education.

UNC-Chapel Hill has requested a $200 increase for in-state students, while North Carolina State University has asked for $150 and North Carolina Central University has requested $113. Fayetteville State University has asked for a $124 tuition increase, while East Carolina University requested a $90 increase.

The proposed tuition increases don't include the student fees each campus also charges.

Despite the fact that UNC-Chapel Hill and N.C. State are seen as offering some of the best values among U.S. universities, officials said more students are seeking financial aid, so the schools need the extra money from any tuition increase.

"If we don't get the 50 percent that's set aside for need-based aid, then we are going to have a much harder time meeting the need of the students," UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Holden Thorp said. "In fact, we may end up actually using more than 50 percent for need-based aid because that's the biggest hole we've got in the budget right now."

UNC-Chapel Hill has seen a 23 percent increase this year in the number of students applying for financial aid, Thorp said.

Bowles would like the other half of the tuition increases to pay for various needs at the UNC campuses. The university system has  cut its budget by almost $300 million in recent months and slashed administrative costs by more than 18 percent because of the state deficit.

"I think it is something that is unfortunately probably necessary," UNC-Chapel Hill senior Erik Russ said of a tuition increase. "You have to raise the money somehow, and unfortunately, tuition is probably the best way to do that."

UNC system administrators will review the requests before presenting them again to the Board of Governors next month for a final vote. Lawmakers would have to sign off on the increases later this spring before they could take effect.


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  • corey3rd Jan 7, 2010

    balog - it's more than just the rich elite of UNC getting hit with these raises. Do you actually see college students or do you just get your picture of them from listening to Rush Radio?

  • toughcookiemom Jan 7, 2010

    Oh balog, I have noticed the cuts and increase in class size but for you to ASSume that all the sudents that go to UNC are priviledged to have $200.00 "outifts" as you refer to them is just ignorance on your part. Sorry, we have had met many students there that are from average families and are so happy to be there that they could care les how much their clothes cost. They are there for the education period. Oh and I dont drive a Lexus either!

  • me2you Jan 7, 2010

    Sure...the economy is in disarray...let's raise the price of everything.

  • jljtheraven Jan 7, 2010

    The issue I take with this increase is that we heard only a few months ago that the administrative ranks at UNC were very bloated and unorganized. I would much rather not see any increase until the campuses prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they have trimmed their administrative costs and are providing the best "bang for the buck" with the money they already charge.

  • balog Jan 7, 2010

    Corey - I never said I wouldn't be willing to put up with a tutition increase. The value of UNC is still well worth it. But in order to keep that value, the faculty and staff and everything else around it need to be paid. Things don't just happen magically.

  • balog Jan 7, 2010

    And perhaps, parents, you settle for a honda rather than a lexus suv.

  • corey3rd Jan 7, 2010

    hey balog - shame you wasted $1,000 on a computer. or did you type that at the library?

  • balog Jan 7, 2010

    In case toughcookiemom hasn't noticed, UNC has been laying off much needed staff lately. Departments have been jettisoned, class sizes increased. People there work very hard to give these priviledged kids a good education. It is a slap in the face to see them whine about $200 when they seem to be able to blow that on one outfit.

  • Timbo Jan 7, 2010

    They first need to go through staff and faculty and fire anyone who's does not teach college students OR support the infrastructure that does.

    That would get rid of the "Dean of things that start with R" and similar useless positions.

  • toughcookiemom Jan 7, 2010

    As a proud UNC parent of two....I beg your pardon children are not that fotuate enough to have all those luxuries, but we do struggle with the tuition and wonldn't mind the measley $200.00 if it were earmarked for the school and not the good ole boy General Fund.