Tuition May Go Up $240 for In-State Undergraduates

The UNC trustees have agreed unanimously to raise tuition $240 for in-state undergraduates — the maximum allowable under a 6.5 percent cap imposed by the UNC System Board of Governors — for the 2009-10 school year.

The campus pulse on tuition remains an annual curiosity. With the global economy in the tank and with the chancellor having acknowledged that families are fretting over college cost, there was hardly a murmur of the protests of tuition hikes past. Ten students showed up at a forum on the subject earlier this month. The Daily Tar Heel editorialists endorsed the chancellor’s recommendation, which the trustees adopted.

The $240 will be added to the current in-state annual tuition of $3,705 if the Board of Governors approves. Out-of-state students will see their tuition rise by $1,150 from the current $20,603.

Fees for all students will go up $75, about 4 percent. Most graduate students will pay $400 more, although the increases in some professional schools will be higher.

The out-of-state increase was the midpoint in a range recommended to Chancellor Holden Thorp ’86 by the Tuition and Fee Advisory Task Force, made up of students, faculty, administrators and trustees. Thorp took the task force’s suggestions on fees and the graduate student increase.

Thorp told the trustees in his recommendation, “We can all acknowledge that the kitchen table conversations that they have about family budgets and paying for college have become much more difficult in these past few months. At the same time, I recognize the need for a long-term view and our fiduciary responsibility to protect, preserve, and enhance academic quality and the value of a Carolina diploma.”

Thorp said the revenue generated by the increase should go to faculty salaries (35 percent), quality improvement initiatives such as class size reduction, academic support services and graduate student tuition remissions (30 percent), and need-based financial aid (35 percent). The allowance for aid is a typical set-aside in any tuition increase.

Shirley Ort, associate provost and director of scholarships and student aid, reported that aid applications for 2008-09 were up 13 percent from the previous year but that the number of students who qualified went up by only 2 percent.

Tuition has been raised at UNC three of the past five years for in-state students and in each of those five years for nonresidents.

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