Bowles: Budget cuts will hurt poor students

Posted June 10, 2010
Updated June 11, 2010

— University of North Carolina President Erskine Bowles said Thursday that poor and minority students would be hit hardest by budget cuts proposed by state lawmakers.

Last week, the House passed a spending plan that would cut the UNC system budget by $147 million in the 2010-11 school year, more than doubling the cuts planned by lawmakers when they passed the two-year state budget last summer.

The House proposal could cost the universities 1,700 positions, including hundreds of faculty jobs, and would prevent enrollment from growing by more than 1 percent at the system's 16 higher education campuses, Bowles said.

"It's going to mean fewer professors on campus because we'll have to fire a lot of people. It'll lead to fewer classes, and the classes we have will have more people in it," he told the UNC Board of Governors on Thursday. "So, it'll take longer to graduate, which will cost more money to the state."

The proposed budget gives the UNC system an extra $12 million for student financial aid, short of the $34.9 million officials requested. Bowles said that would hurt up to 8,000 students who need such tuition assistance.

"Rich kids can afford a college education without need-based aid," he said. "The middle-class and the poor get hurt, and I want to fight against that."

UNC System Logo UNC lobbies hard for funding

Leading Senators have already expressed opposition to the House spending plan because of the UNC budget cuts and the cap on enrollment, and Bowles said he expects that "the university will not end up with draconian cuts."

Still, he said UNC officials need to lobby lawmakers to ensure cuts are kept to a minimum.

"We are doing this for the students," he said. "We are determined to maintain the quality."

Students said they appreciate any effort to keep their tuition costs down.

"Everyone thinks it's crazy that tuition keeps going up, and students are complaining about it," said April Harrid, a student at the North Carolina Central University Law School. "If I can't take out unsubsidized loans, then I have to take out private loans. It's like this debt, this overwhelming, huge debt."


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  • weasel2 Jun 11, 2010

    Bravo Erskine pull at the heartstrings so you can keep your outrageous salary, oh I forgot your going to work for the big guy.

  • Stringbean Jun 11, 2010

    Lol... way over buget and now they let the Illegal’s go to our Universitys.... This just keeps on getting better and better.How about we start taking care of our own.

  • josephlawrence43 Jun 11, 2010

    One sure fire way to scare the general public into not only approving, but asking for, tax increases--sing the song of "hurting the poor" ( as if they are the only inhabitants of this earth", and "cutting education". Guaranteed to eventually work..Tax and spend...

  • scraitup Jun 11, 2010

    are only minorities hurting right now? Where the heck have I been? They get a lot of stuff for free!! What about non-minorities do we have problems? We need to take the country back!!!

  • fds4444 Jun 10, 2010

    There is not a single facet of government, education, environment, administration, judiciary, highways, not a single thing that government is doing that can not be cut. We can freeze spending at today's level, and probably at levels of several years ago. Thats what it will take to start to get the budget fixed.

  • jackaroo2 Jun 10, 2010

    I am a product of NC higher education, UNC (CH) to be exact. Ok it has been some time ago, but my profs had the easiest jobs, with tenure, on the planet. Most of the classes were taught by assistants, and that was at the Business School. I can only imagine the liberal arts side. The profs can whine but most make over $100 K, and live a life of leisure compared to the private sector.

  • TheBigLC Jun 10, 2010

    4 things you should never cut. Police, Fire,Military and education. Everything else is gravy.

  • TheBigLC Jun 10, 2010

    and yet geosol Governor Bev Purdue is cutting the education budget and stealing from the lottery. Apparently, the right wing isnt the only side with nutjobs.

  • beachlvr0804 Jun 10, 2010

    Spending needs to be cut across the board. We're all hurting in one sense or another.....get over it Obama cronie!!

  • jhilfiker2001 Jun 10, 2010

    what is the point of an education lottery, when all they do is cut education....... the last thing that should be cut!!!!