Local News

Easley Calls UNC Tuition Cap Bad Idea

Posted October 13, 2006

— The General Assembly should provide more funding to the University of North Carolina system so UNC officials don't have to impose any tuition increases, much less impose a cap on them, Gov. Mike Easley said.

Erskine Bowles Tuition Cap Proposal

The UNC Board of Governors is scheduled to vote Friday on a plan suggested by President Erskine Bowles that would cap tuition increases at the 16 UNC system campuses at 6.5 percent a year over the next four years. Bowles said the cap would make planning for tuition easier for families while keeping the cost of higher education as affordable as possible.

But Easley said he doesn't like the idea of a tuition cap, saying it lets lawmakers off the hook as far as their responsibility to fund higher education.

"I think the No. 1 thing you do is stop raising tuition completely," he said. "Then, let the legislature fund what the universities and community colleges need."

Easley said he has discussed the issue with Bowles several times, and they simply disagree on how best to solve funding questions.

"We have to get more people in college. We have to raise the level of knowledge in the workplace," Easley said. "In order to do that, we have to make access our top priority, and a lot of that has to do with affordability."

In addition to the proposed tuition cap, Bowles said he plans to ask the General Assembly to fund faculty pay raises for two years and $38 million for tuition assistance.

Easley said he could get those funds from state lawmakers, as well as money for research and construction, which he said should never come at the expense of students.

"We ought not be raising tuitions on the students who don't benefit from that any more than anyone else," he said. "Keep the tuition down. Let the kids use the scholarships from the lottery for those who can't afford it, and let's let the legislature pay for what the university needs."


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