BOG Urges Lawmakers to Reconsider Nonresident Tuition Hike

Out-of-state undergraduate students have another shot at avoiding a tuition hike.

A divided UNC System Board of Governors passed a resolution Friday urging the N.C. General Assembly to stop nonresident tuition increases set to take effect at 14 institutions this fall. One of the bigger hikes would hit Carolina, raising out-of-state tuition 12.3 percent, or by $3,469.

University officials have voiced deep concerns about the impact of the increase on Carolina’s ability to attract talent beyond the state’s borders and to provide need-based financial aid. Carolina had requested that out-of-state tuition increase no more than 2.5 percent, or $700.

As expected, tuition for in-state undergraduate students will not rise next year. A $350 increase for all graduate students was approved — also expected — as were increases at various professional schools.

The increases mandated by the Legislature last year for out-of-staters range from 6 percent at some campuses — including Appalachian State and East Carolina universities — to 12.3 percent at the Chapel Hill, Wilmington and N.C. A&T campuses. UNC-Charlotte and N.C. State University were not included. At Chapel Hill, nonresident tuition costs would rise to $31,674 from $28,205.

The Board of Governors listed rescinding the increases as an item in its 2014-15 budget and policy priorities. Whether the pressure will prompt lawmakers to reverse course remains to be seen. They return to Raleigh for a short session in mid-May.

Board member Steven B. Long ’82 said he doubted the Legislature was going to be convinced.

“I don’t think it’s necessary, it’s not advisable, to go back and re-fight that war, or that battle, when it’s already been fought,” he said, noting that, even with the mandated increase, nonresident tuition prices are still low relative to peer institutions.

W. Marty Kotis III ’91, one of the board members who voted against the measure, expressed support for the increase, saying it is not the responsibility of local taxpayers to shoulder the burden of providing education to people from other states.

“The [N.C.] constitution calls for us to provide as free as practicable an education to the people of the state, not the people of other states,” he said. “When we make noise about … how in-state students need a break on tuition, we also need to be mindful of the rest of the taxpayers in this state that have bills to pay as well.”

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