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Trustees Endorse 5.2 Percent Tuition Increase

The UNC Board of Trustees voted its approval this week of a 5.2 percent tuition increase for all undergraduate students and a 3.7 percent hike for graduate students. Most of new revenue would go to N.C. General Fund.

The board also recommended an increase in fees for all undergraduates of $96 a year, or 5.5 percent. The trustees followed the recommendation of Chancellor Holden Thorp ’86. The proposal now goes to the UNC System Board of Governors for action.

Under the proposal, undergraduate and graduate resident tuition would increase $200 a year, and all of that increase would go into the state’s General Fund. The N.C. General Assembly recently put an end, at least temporarily, to the campus-based increases that had been the norm for several years and that had enabled individual schools in the 16-campus system to keep revenues they raised from tuition increases. UNC System President Erskine Bowles ’67 has said he is hopeful the General Assembly will allow some or all of the $200 to remain on the campuses.

If the plan is approved by the BOG, the state’s General Fund would get the first $200 of increases for nonresident students, and additional revenue from the higher increase for nonresidents could be kept on the Chapel Hill campus. If approved as proposed, starting next fall, annual tuition and fees would be:

  • $5,921 for in-state undergraduates;
  • $24,736 for out-of-state undergraduates;
  • $7,457 for in-state graduate students; and
  • $22,387 for out-of-state graduate students.

The revenue that could be returned to the Chapel Hill campus would be about $4 million, which would be used to support faculty salaries, student financial aid and academic support, including libraries.

Carolina administrators said the inability to generate more revenue for the campus would create funding problems.

Bruce Carney, interim executive vice chancellor and provost, noted that the $4 million is less than half the revenue that usually comes from campus-based tuition.

“Even if we allocate 50 percent of those funds to need-based [financial aid], which is a larger percent than in the past, we’ll still come up $2 million short than what will likely be needed,” Carney said. And, he said, “it doesn’t address the need for faculty retention and acquirement issues.”

Several sign-carrying students protested tuition increases on Wednesday at the meeting of the trustees’ audit and finance committee. No signs were displayed on Thursday at the full meeting of the trustees. But, as the economic downturn is hitting public universities hard, there are indications nationally that UNC is on the low end of rate increases. The University of California’s Board of Regents voted Thursday to raise tuition by 32 percent.

Last year, Carolina’s tuition went up an average of 4.2 percent for resident students, to $5,625 a year including fees. The increases at other universities included the following, with the current annual tuition and fees for resident students noted for each, as reported by The Chronicle for Higher Education:

  • California-Berkeley, 16.7 percent, to $8,325;
  • Florida, 15.8 percent, to $4,373;
  • Michigan, 7.3 percent, to $11,848;
  • Texas, 4.7 percent, to $8,930;
  • UCLA, 7.2 percent, to $9,151;
  • Virginia, 1.8 percent, to $9,672;
  • Washington, 13.1 percent, to $7,692; and
  • Wisconsin, 9.9 percent, to $8,310.

UNC’s tuition has gone up in four of the past six years.


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