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Bowles calls for tighter cap on tuition increases

Posted January 27, 2009

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— Noting the impact of the nationwide recession on family budgets, University of North Carolina President Erskine Bowles on Tuesday called for slashing requests by the system's 16 campuses for in-state tuition increases by a third.

Under the proposal, in-state undergraduate tuition at UNC-Chapel Hill would go up $160, to $3,705, while tuition at North Carolina State University would increase by $93, to $3,860. Tuition at North Carolina Central University would go to $2,218, up $93, and Fayetteville State University tuition would go up by $79, to $1,826.

The proposal, which the UNC Board of Governors will discuss on Friday, would increase in-state tuition across the 16 campuses by an average of 2.8 percent, rather than the 3.8 percent the various chancellors requested.

Last year, tuition went up by an average of 1.2 percent.

Bowles asked the Board of Governors to allow chancellors to use at least 40 percent of the extra tuition revenue for financial aid, predicting that more families would seek help paying for college. The remainder of the money would be used at the discretion of each chancellor for expenses such as reducing class sizes, ensuring libraries and laboratories remain accessible and maintaining university buildings, he said.

The UNC system implemented a 6.5 percent cap on tuition increases several years ago to keep spiraling higher education costs in check so that it remained affordable to most families.

Bowles asked the Board of Governors in a memo to cut that cap to 4.5 percent.

"North Carolina families cannot afford a 6.5 percent increase in undergraduate tuition and fees. At the same time, we need additional resources and the flexibility to use those resources wisely in order to lessen the impact of this recession and related budget cuts on our university," he wrote.

To help erase a growing budget deficit, the state has pulled $150 million from the UNC system's annual appropriation. Bowles said those cuts damage the quality of education the system can offer, but he said he believes UNC can absorb 5 to 6 percent cuts for another 18 months to help the state get through its budget crisis.

"I am a team player, and because I understand the depths of this economic crisis, I have not whined or complained about the university having to bear our share of the pain. But cuts of this magnitude cannot continue permanently if we are to preserve the quality of education our students need and deserve," he wrote in the memo.

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  • tgw Jan 28, 2009

    It's time to trim things up Mr. Bowles. Trim alot. Tighten the rains in and keeps costs down. My guessis that those riding the horse toward retirement could be given an out early sinerio. Staffs could be trimmed up, salaries frozen or reduced by 5or 10%. That's better than no job at all.

    And the system, need to look at places to trim outdated programs. And their must be some.

    In today's economy, all must be on the table. Tuition cannot continue to climb without some help from the UNC System in trimming-cutting fat.

  • Timbo Jan 28, 2009

    They need to do away with any function that is not directly support educating students.

    Get rid of faculty that do not teach.

    Flatten out the management chain. If the Catholic Church can run with 4 levels, so should UNC.

  • Bob3425 Jan 28, 2009

    I can see the college having a lot of room in the classrooms, raise the cost for student can't afford and you have less student. I think all proffessor/instructors/administrator should have their salary and benefit post online.

  • WHEEL Jan 28, 2009

    A good start at reducing costs would be to quit hiring speakers like Bill Clinton, do away with patronage jobs like Mary Easleys and Erskine and his high priced staff could stand a cut also.

  • may2009grad Jan 27, 2009

    As one who is paying her way through college, it seems unfair.

  • Lit Jan 27, 2009

    Here's a great idea: Lower the salaries of the highest-paid university officials. Problem solved.

  • meh2 Jan 27, 2009

    How much of that goes directly into Ms. Easley's pocket? Fire her, slow the rate of tuition increases.

  • whatelseisnew Jan 27, 2009

    It really does burn me that part of the increase is taking money out of the pocket of person A and stuffing it in to the pocket of person B. It is also likely that person A had to go borrow the money that is being given to person B. They ought to flat-line and not increase the tuition. Do a little trimming on the payrolls.

  • SaveEnergyMan Jan 27, 2009

    Allocating 40% of the increases to financial aid means that those who borrow will have to finance the college of those who can't or won't. As support from the state goes down, tuition rises and we finance the waste of government on the backs of students who will be paying for this their entire lives - kind of like all these bailouts and stimulus plans (both Bush and Obama). When will we learn to live within our means?

  • drnc Jan 27, 2009

    They need to evaluate the work load of the instructors throughout the system. Those that want to work should stay. Those who want to bide their time until retirement need to go.