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Tuition increases possible for UNC-system schools

Posted November 14, 2008

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— The University of North Carolina Board of Governors unanimously approved a $3 billion budget Friday that asks for a 5.8 percent – or $168 million – increase over the previous spending plan.

All but about $50 million would go toward salaries, student financial aid and public safety initiatives at the system's 16 universities, officials said Thursday.

The increase is the lowest in 20 years – the board's finance committee trimmed campus requests for other items from almost $200 million because the sluggish economy is reducing state revenues.

Chancellors at the various campuses have already cut the current year's budgets by 4 percent, and officials have told them to work toward a 5 percent cut next year. The decisions on where to make cuts are left to each campus.

The question now looming is whether budget cuts will mean tuition increases.

The board decided not to raise tuition last year, but UNC System President Erskine Bowles said he expects campuses will ask for an increase now.

"I expect to get requests, from some campuses, up to a 6.5 percent tuition increase. And I have no question they can use the money," Bowles said. "But I want to make sure they can justify it, and I want to make sure that the students and their families can afford it."

North Carolina State University plans to as its Board of Trustees next week for a 3.6 percent increase.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Board of Trustees will also consider an increase. It's unclear how much, though, because a final recommendation hasn't been made.

"We'll have to take a very hard and pragmatic look at it," said UNC Board Chairman Roger Perry.

The state, however, does have an annual tuition cap of 6.5 percent that was put in place in 2006 as a way to help families plan for higher-education costs.

If tuition does increase, universities are required to set aside 25 percent of it for financial aid.

Still, students, like UNC freshman Emily Ronco who pays out-of-state tuition, say they are concerned, especially with the declining economy.

"With much more of a tuition increase, I just don't know how realistic it is for me to stay," Ronco said.


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  • whatelseisnew Nov 14, 2008

    CanesGrrrl - that gets at the reason they figure they can just keep increasing the charges. There is very high demand for the available seats. Perhaps, when enrollment does start to fall off, a new perspective will develop.

  • Lit Nov 14, 2008

    A 5% or 6% tuition increase may not seem like much to the bureaucratic big whigs, but $500 can mean the difference between a student going on to complete their degree or having to drop out because they can't afford to stay in.

    And student loans are getting tougher to get because of the finanical mess on Wall Street. These people really need to think hard about how these decisions affect students lives.

  • whatelseisnew Nov 14, 2008

    Why do these people lie. The tuition was increased last year and the fees that they charge. Plus they got 3000+ more per student from the state. That increase alone from the state was around 30 percent higher than the previous year. They need to cut staff and salaries across the board. Guess these fools did not get the word there is a recession going on. I hope the state cuts funding to the system by at least 50 percent. They obviously need something to jolt them into a real word view.

  • flyfishNC Nov 14, 2008

    We are to bail out every facet of the "business world" and who is there to help us?!?

  • CanesGrrrl Nov 14, 2008

    The same thing is happening at private colleges and universities, as well. Instead of cutting budgets, they are laying off teachers and upping our tuitions. When people can no longer afford to send their children to college and enrollment is dropping, maybe these people will see that what they are doing is not helping the students, which should be any institutions first priority.

  • jetset Nov 14, 2008

    Mary Easley and the cronies who gave her a huge increase in pay should be rounded up, tarred & feathered. They are a bunch of hoodlums and I wish they would leave the state of North Carolina. They need to take their greed somewhere else. They are sickening.

  • ids Nov 14, 2008

    This is just unbelievable - What are these people doing!!

    They are all a bunch of old men and women whose kids are long out of school, and they are trying to justify to themselves that they are doing good for the school

    They raised tuition so much when times were good, and now that times are bad, continue raising tuition, just not as much, only 5 or 6%, wow, I wished I received 2% of a raise, instead of about losing my job...

    And I work for UNC; the salaries are not going to faculty, that’s a lie

  • PaulRevere Nov 14, 2008

    So a "cut" is actually a reduced increase and not true budget cut. Amazing.

  • demo7691 Nov 14, 2008

    Erskin Bowels wouldnt go against Mary Easley you know...I think the state should at least cut the budget they give to the colleges at least $90,000 on the raise they gave her. Thats a crazy raise. They could get 2 instructors for her price.

  • chfdcpt Nov 14, 2008

    Continuity, the University system has learned from the public school system. Ask for a ridiculous increase, so you can get what you really are after.