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Tuition hikes create challenges for NC students

Students at North Carolina's public universities say they are struggling to keep up with rising tuition, which has increased by 50 percent since 2007.

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Rachel Scott
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Students at North Carolina’s public universities say they are struggling to keep up with rising tuition, which has increased by 50 percent since 2007.

The University of North Carolina Board of Governors voted to approve a tuition hike for the 2015 school year. Students will pay about $266 more in the fall and another $241 the following year.

The increase varies across the 16 public universities. In-state students attending UNC-Chapel Hill will have to spend $8,334, while in-state students at North Carolina State University will pay $8,407 for tuition and fees.

The hike has many students worrying that they will not have enough money to cover the cost of their education and focus on school at the same time.

“I have to work two jobs to make rents pay and pay the school tuition. There are some days when I may not eat,” said Jazmyne Childs, a senior at North Carolina State University who said she has seen her tuition rise every year.

“They don’t take a lot of time to tell you what you can do with your tuition hikes, they just serve it on a platter and expect you to deal with it,” she said.

Other students think the education they are receiving outweighs the cost of tuition and fees.

“The quality of the education offsets the cost you’re paying,” UNC-Chapel Hill senior Izzak Earnhardt said.

He received a full scholarship to UNC-Chapel Hill, but he knows the financial burden is too heavy for many other students.

“I’ve had friends from out of state that have had to graduate in three years. I have friends that have had to take time off because their parents weren’t supporting their education and they had to work to support themselves,” Earnhardt said.

Many students said they attend a public university because it costs less than private school. But with tuition, student fees, book, health insurance and personal fees factored in, universities such as UNC-Chapel Hill are only about $300 cheaper than private schools such as Shaw University in Raleigh.

In-state students at UNC-Chapel Hill pay $24,386 for a year of school, while students at Shaw University pay $24,638, according to the schools’ websites. Shaw University will not have a tuition increase next year.

Yet some students at Shaw University say they are also dealing with financial stress. Senior Darian Brown said he slept in his car for two weeks because he couldn’t afford to pay both his medical bills and rent.

“It was the biggest struggle of my life,” he said. “I was sitting in the car. I was thinking, ‘I’ll never do this again.’ By doing this, I’m going to get my education so I never have to do it.”

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