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UNC System Hopes To Better Account For How Tuition Money Spent

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — The University of North Carolina system said it will aggressively track tuition spending next year.

Last week, the Board of Governors passed tuition hikes at all 16 campuses.

The tuition hikes vary from campus to campus.

Instate students will pay between $225 and $450, while out-of-state students could pay as much as an additional $1,500.

In return for requiring students to pay more, each UNC campus will do more to show how that money was spent.

Students protesting tuition hikes across the system last week said they want to follow the money.

"I know that's what people on my campus will be watching," said UNC-Chapel Hill student Matt Tepper, "to see if that money is where it needs to be."

System administrators said the Board of Governors has outlined ways to make sure the extra tuition benefits students.

"Increase offerings for students," said Jeffrey Davies, UNC's vice president for finance. "Reduce class sizes. Hire less part-time faculty."

Individual campuses have always had to submit a plan and report back on how the money was spent. But this time, the Board of Governors has spelled out a specific plan for how tuition will be spent -- a direct reflection of student concerns.

UNC President Molly Broad said it also is a reflection of the times: Tight state budgets call for closer dollar-to-dollar scrutiny.

"I believe they can and will achieve this," Broad said.

Said Davies: "I think this is important accountability that the board has requested."

All 16 campuses must report back in December. The criteria for evaluating the reports still has to be worked out.

"It's difficult to measure," Davies said. "That's part of the challenge we have between now and December."


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