Nonresident Tuition Hike Idea Aimed at Predictability

A last-minute proposal was thrown into the ebb and flow of this year’s tuition debate in November when Chancellor James Moeser suggested a hefty one-time hike for nonresident students to the UNC trustees.

Moeser suggested the trustees consider increasing out-of-state undergraduate tuition by $4,000 for incoming students in 2007, bringing their tuition to $22,104 a year. Those students would be free from any further tuition increases during their four years at UNC. The plan would not affect graduate students.

“So, for them it is not a tuition increase, it’s just tuition,” Moeser said in an interview. “The following year, we would set a new tuition level to the next entering class, which would be guaranteed to them for four years as well. The guarantee would go beyond campus-based increases.”

Such a proposal would require trustees’ approval, and they are expected to discuss tuition at their Jan. 24 and 25 meetings.

Citing parental and student concerns about the predictability of tuition, Moeser said a $4,000 increase would maintain the University’s economic competitiveness while providing more revenue to fund faculty salaries, among other expenses.

Moeser added that current undergraduates have said they cannot handle further tuition increases during their academic careers and that placing the extra weight on incoming students would be the best way to establish predictability and fairness.

“There’s a strong feeling on campus that this has turned into a bait-and-switch for the students here on campus now,” he said of past increases.

To stick to the tuition commitment, Moeser said he would propose reducing campus-based tuition if either the N.C. General Assembly or the UNC System Board of Governors increases nonresident tuition during that period.

Last year, the BOG approved an increase of $1,100 a year for out-of-state undergraduates, $250 for in-state undergraduates and $500 for graduate students. In-state students currently pay $5,033 a year in tuition and fees, and nonresidents pay $19,681.

Under new constraints placed on the UNC System schools this year, in-state tuition and student fees cannot be raised by more than 6.5 percent.

Steve Farmer, director of undergraduate admissions at Carolina, will research the option and its potential effects on enrollment and competitiveness so trustees have more information on the proposal for the January meetings. The universities of Illinois-Urbana and Kansas already have implemented locked-in tuition rates for all undergraduates.

“If it would seriously damage the applicant pool then, of course, I will withdraw the proposal,” Moeser said.

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