State News

UNC president sees no in-state tuition increases in 2014

Posted August 8, 2013

— Undergraduate students enrolled at North Carolina's 16 public universities a year from now can expect a reprieve from a decade of steady tuition increases, University of North Carolina President Tom Ross said Thursday.

Ross told members of the university system's Board of Governors that he will recommend no tuition increases for undergraduate state residents heading into the 2014-15 academic year. In-state students paid an average of 9 percent more in tuition in the academic year that ended in May. Tuition increased by an average 4 percent for the school year beginning this month.

In-state students are paying 90 percent more in tuition and fees than a decade ago.

"I think it's time for us to step back and not increase tuition," Ross said. "It's going to be a struggle because we received another budget cut this year, but we have to figure out how we can be more efficient and how we can absorb these cuts."

He said he has had lengthy discussions about the changes with campus chancellors.

The tuition freeze won't be finalized until February, but the idea was received well by some members of the Board of Governors, which saw 15 new members sworn in Thursday.

"It's the right time to hit the pause button, and I think it's really important that we get this out early so that the campuses can spend the next six months planning," said board member Hannah Gage, of Wilmington.

Ross spoke two weeks after the General Assembly passed a two-year state budget that allocated the UNC system $126.5 million less than what was projected as needed to maintain last year's operating levels, adjusted for inflation.

UNC Board of Governors meeting UNC leaders study impact of state budget cuts

Most of the cuts that will be required as a result will be determined by UNC's administrative offices and campus leaders. The cuts are on top of budget reductions of about $400 million approved two years ago.

"(It) is going to be tough, but given the reduction magnitude over the last few years, it’s better than we expected," said Charles Perusse, chief operating officer for the UNC system.

Perusse said most cuts will be in administration and operations, but there would be some impact on instruction as well.

The UNC system receives about $2.6 billion of its roughly $9 billion budget directly from the state.

"We did not receive any new investment. What we did receive was language in the Senate that gave the board some flexibility to use resources already available to any university as we begin to address the strategic plan," Ross said.

The universities need time to absorb the new cuts and adjust to a clear message from lawmakers to improve operating efficiency, he said.

"We need to prove that we can do the cut part of this – the efficiency side of this – and then we need to continue to make our case" for state funding in the future, he said.

The state legislature ordered tuition increases of 12 percent next year for out-of-state students attending UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC-Wilmington, North Carolina A&T State University and the UNC School of the Arts. Out-of-state tuition will rise 6 percent at most other campuses.

Tuition and fees vary dramatically by campus and, because of taxpayer support, are much lower for in-state students. That's largely due to a provision in the state constitution that requires higher-education costs to be low or free "as far as practicable." The average undergraduate tuition and fees for North Carolina residents has increased in the past decade from $3,290 to $6,100 in the coming academic year.

Tuition and fees at the state's public universities were the country's 10th lowest in 2012-13 and well below the national average of $8,655 in 2012-13, according to the College Board.

"I think we are a very affordable system compared to the rest of the country. That doesn't mean we're affordable for everyone, but it does mean comparatively we're affordable," Ross said.

22 Comments

This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • carrboroyouth Aug 8, 6:09 p.m.

    That's a first!

  • unc70 Aug 8, 5:59 p.m.

    The increase in tuition and fees over recent decades is almost exactly equal to the decline in public funding to public higher education over the same period. Most people are unaware that the Federal government had paid the majority of the cost of college education for over a century, beginning with the creation and funding of the Labd Grant colleges like NC State. The Feds also paid for college through the GI Bill and similar programs. (The GI Bill would not be passed by either party today. Twelve months unemployment insurance, healthcare, full scholarships for college, etc.) State funding provided the second largest source of funds.

    Other Fed funding came for research under NSF, DARPA, DOE, etc. Many of those grants have been replaced by for-profit contracts with Beltway firms with lobbyists and "friends".

  • parichar77 Aug 8, 5:59 p.m.

    I agree costs need to go down. But I can't believe some of the posts complaining about "their" money going to support universities when "they don't have kids". Investing in education is GOOD for ALL. The state spends good tax dollars on universities and a majority of the time gets back much much more in taxes over the students lifetime. Educated people are less likely to be unemployed, need government assistance, or get in big trouble with the law. They also get better jobs and pay more taxes. The state helped pay for my schooling at NCSU and has been payed back many times over because I keep good jobs and pay more taxes. It's just common sense.

  • dsdaughtry Aug 8, 5:42 p.m.

    NCSU fees will continue to increase thanks to the new Talley Student Center. Count on several hundred dollars a year tacked on to your student tuition.

    Many colleges and universities will begin to tack on mandatory 'student fees'. But many should question these fees. For example: Student Health Fee, but students are required to have insurance. Computer fee, but most students already have their own computer and usually pay for internet access separately. The list goes on and on but rarely is noticed or challenged by parents or students.

  • webhype Aug 8, 5:24 p.m.

    really, now you stop the increases ? as an earlier poster stated when my son started at NCSU the tuition was low 5k, we got slammed every year where it is almost 60% higher than when he started. As for those commenting "I don't have kids, why do I need to pay" sorry society isn't alacarte. Hope you don't need any services or utilize anyone that receive a publically funded edumacation.

  • Justic4All Aug 8, 5:07 p.m.

    In the NC Education budget line item for Universities and colleges is where the budget was cut Justaname. K-12 actually was allotted more funds than last year.

  • BadDayforButch Aug 8, 5:03 p.m.

    Tuition and fees for the upcoming year at NC State is 8200 dollars. Not much below the national average stated in this article. In 2009-2010 they were about 5600. My daughter graduated last year and tuition and fees jumped every year she was a student there. They will continue going up until the colleges get some sort of restraint on spending.

  • Justic4All Aug 8, 5:02 p.m.

    Thank you arfanr... I was going to comment on how everyone is only interested in complaining. Nobody would think for a moment the republicans would have anything to do with this.

  • Justic4All Aug 8, 5:00 p.m.

    We call that paying property taxes raleighboy

  • raleighboy524 Aug 8, 4:17 p.m.

    "Parents need to wake up and be financially responsible for educating their own children and stop expecting people who dont have children to support them.--Superman"

    Absolutely. And when your house burns down, we'll send you the bill for the Fire Department time, equipment use and manpower. No need for us to pay for your mistakes. Time for you to be responsible for your own fire protection cost.

More...