Tuition Program Proposed for Faculty, Staff Children

Acting on a proposal created last year by former Provost Dick Richardson, the UNC Employee Forum has asked for $100 million from the Carolina First capital campaign to set up an endowment that would provide free tuition for children of UNC faculty and staff and to provide affordable, on-campus day care and dependent care.

The tuition break would cost $40 million and would enable children of faculty and staff with at least 10 years at Carolina to attend any UNC System school. The dependent care program would cost $60 million. The request is based in part on the fact that the campaign already is more than $100 million past its goal of $2 billion.

Forum Chair Ernie Patterson presented the proposal to the UNC trustees in March. “The trustees realize the need, but there are a lot of different needs across this campus,” Patterson said. “We have to convince them that this need is important. If money wasn’t an issue, I have no doubt that this would be funded immediately.”

Patterson said Duke University offers a similar tuition program, and Davidson College used to fund a comparable initiative. Lynn Williford ’78, assistant provost for institutional research and assessment, said the University of Maryland and the University of Pittsburgh also provide free tuition for the children of faculty and staff. But the practice is most common at private colleges, she said.

Talk of free tuition prompted a number of parents on the faculty to ask Patterson to include their concerns about day care. Day care currently is offered through the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, which is not on the main campus and often is inconvenient to parents. Patterson envisions multiple smaller centers scattered throughout the campus.

The Employee Forum is asking for the creation of a task force that would make formal recommendations to the trustees, whose approval is required.

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