Local News

UNC System Campuses Could See Hike In Student Tuition

Posted February 10, 2006 5:52 a.m. EST

— The University of North Carolina system's budget and finance committee Thursday recommended tuition hikes, ranging from 7 to 22 percent, for all 16 campuses.

"It's hard to swallow when you're a parent of a college-age child and trying to make ends meet," said state employee Jan Paul, who has seen her daughter Caroline's tuition at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington increase over the years.

Next year, UNC-Wilmington's tuition could increase 15 percent.

The UNC Board of Governors has also increased tuition four of the last five years.

Board Chairman Brad Wilson said it is a difficult balance between meeting campus needs and keeping public education affordable.

"It's students' money and parents' money, and we take it seriously," Wilson said.

In five years, the state Legislature has decreased the amount of funding for state campuses. At the same time, enrollment has increased.

While a larger student body is a good thing, Wilson pointed out that it adds to the cost.

"The more students we have, the more faculty we need," Wilson said.

About 39 percent of the tuition increase would go to faculty salaries, but that doesn't mean each professor will get a big raise.

Ultimately, each campus determines exactly how the money will be spent. Some may use it to hire more professors, while others may use it to bolster the pay of longtime professors' salaries to match market rate.

While most parents don't like the tuition increase, Paul said she tries to look at it as an investment.

"If you look at the cost of a private education, and the quality and cost of a public education, there's not a lot to complain about," she said.

Depending on the campus, at least 40 percent of the tuition increase goes to financial aid to make sure students who can't afford the hikes aren't affected by them.

The Board of Governors was scheduled to vote on the tuition proposals Friday morning.