RALEIGH, N.C. — A college education in North Carolina is getting more expensive. Schools within the University of North Carolina system want a tuition hike.
North Carolina State University is looking at about a $350 increase in tuition and fees. That is a pretty standard increase for campuses across the state.
But although it may not seem like a huge amount, to students, it could mean the difference between staying in school and dropping out.
For many students at North Carolina Central University in Durham, money is tight. In fact, 70 percent of the freshman class comes from homes with incomes of less than $30,000 a year.
"You've got living expenses," NCCU student Brandon Sanders said. "Then, you've got other stuff you need to pay for, and books.
"I just saw a good friend leave school because he could not afford school. It is kind of sad."
In-state students at Central face an 11.5-percent tuition increase next year. Chancellor James Ammons said it is up to administrators to find ways to help money-strapped students.
"It would be important for us to work to close the gap between financial-aid packages, the loans, the scholarships," Ammons said, "so students won't have the extra burden."
The UNC Board of Governors' budget committee is looking at individual increases for all 16 campuses. Fayetteville State University faces one of the biggest hikes: 17 percent.
East Carolina University in Greenville is looking at a 13 percent increase. The Board of Trustees proposed a much-debated 10.5 percent increase at UNC-Chapel Hill, and N.C. State students could pay 9 percent more next year for their education.
UNC-Chapel Hill and UNC-Asheville are the only campuses proposing a higher increase for out-of-state students. In Chapel Hill, students are facing a $1,500 hike.
UNC-Asheville wants out-of-state students to pay $600 more -- twice that of in-state students.
All of these will need approval from the full Board of Governors, which is expected to vote next week.
"I'm sure there are different programs they could take money from," N.C. State student Sarah Steele said. "I think there's a lot of wasted money on campuses."