Task Force Backs Higher Tuition for Out-of-Staters

The campus’s advisory task force on tuition and fees has recommended tuition increases for 2013-14 for out-of-state undergraduates and all graduate students.

In-state undergraduates were spared, but they face a $600 increase already approved by the UNC System Board of Governors.

If the recommendation is approved, tuition would go up $1,641 for nonresident undergraduates and graduate students, and by $509 for in-state graduate students. The task force’s recommendation is the beginning of the annual tuition process; it goes next to Chancellor Holden Thorp ’86, then to the trustees and ultimately to the BOG, whose decision usually comes in February.

In-state undergraduates currently pay $5,823 a year (not counting fees), and out-of-staters pay $26,575. N.C. resident graduate students pay $7,834; nonresidents pay $23,924.

One member of the task force — Michael Bertucci, president of the Graduate and Professional Student Federation — voted against the recommendation.

Provost Bruce Carney said that the task force agreed that it was unfair to ask nonresident undergraduates — the highest paying demographic, who already pay about $3,000 more in tuition than their nonresident graduate counterparts — to bear the brunt of the tuition increase. “Just adhering to percentages didn’t strike everybody as fair when the dollar amount is what’s most important to the students,” Carney said.

The task force is made up of faculty, administrators, trustees, students and University staff and is chaired by Carney.

Will Leimenstoll, student body president and co-chair of the task force, said that members also had to consider the unknown consequences of a tuition increase on out-of-state competition. While the proposed increase targets out-of-state students, Carney said that he doubts the increase would dull the University’s competitive edge for nonresident students.

“None of us know for certain,” he said. “But I suspect that as long as we can maintain our financial aid, it should not harm us.”

But Stephen Farmer, vice provost of enrollment and undergraduate admissions, voiced concern about the potential consequences of the potential tuition increase as well as what could happen if the University’s academic budget is not met.

“If we raise tuition faster than our competition without improving quality or aid, we become less competitive,” Farmer said. “On the other hand, if we increase tuition and our quality or aid decline as a result, we can hurt ourselves that way, too.”

Carney said that the proposed increase is not enough to cover the University’s needs, such as hiring new faculty, teaching assistants and academic advisers in the wake of several years of reductions in state funds.

“To honor everyone’s requests to ‘get us back on track’ will depend on what other efficiencies we can find and what kind of support from the state that we receive,” he said.

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