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The UNC System Board of Governors on Thursday affirmed its policy that tuition and fees charged at state universities will not be adjusted should schools now planning to resume on-campus classes in a few weeks later switch to mostly or all remote classes.
Six of the board’s 24 members dissented in the vote.
Board member James Holmes, chair of its budget and finance committee, reminded the board that the rationale for not offering a reduced price plan was “the fiduciary, long-term financial health” of the system.
Member Marty Kotis ’91 said he didn’t think it was appropriate to charge students for that which they might not receive, particularly fees for activities that would not be offered if the campus moved to mostly or all remote classes. “The Zoom experience is inferior,” Kotis said. “We’re almost overcharging with tuition, and to throw fees on top of that is insult to injury.”
Isaiah Green, a senior at UNC-Asheville and an ex officio member of the board, said tuition bills would be “catastrophic” for families if students have to return to online classes as they did in the spring at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic. “The learning quality is nowhere near the same,” he said.
Thomas Goolsby ’91 (JD) pointed out that many universities across the country are offering reduced tuition rates if classes go remote and that “we may be digging our own graves keeping tuition at the same level” since the system schools could be in competition with the state’s community colleges if students perceive a drop in value.
Holmes said the system was undertaking a new study of tuition and fees.
Carolina’s plan for offering classes in the fall states, “All regularly enrolled students are assessed the same tuition and mandatory fees whether participating in classes in-person, through remote instruction, or a combination of both.” Students registered to live on campus and those who have bought campus dining plans would be reimbursed for housing and dining if the University were to discontinue on-campus classes.
The Board of Governors also voted to suspend the requirement that applicants provide standardized test scores for admission through fall 2021 due to the constraints of the pandemic on the testing system. Students still would have the option of taking the tests and providing the scores to schools to which they apply.