Tuition and fees grow faster at UNC schools, remain among lowest nationally

Tuition increases at the 16 campuses in the University of North Carolina have upset students and parents. A Pope Center look at the issue found that the average increase this year for in-state students in tuition and fees at a UNC school was greater than the average increase nationally. Nevertheless, tuition and fees at UNC schools are still lower than the regional and U.S. averages.

Nationally, this year saw the largest increases in public college tuition since 1993, according to the College Board. The nation’s economic downturn and the crimp it put on state budgets gets most of the blame. Private colleges also saw increases, but not as great as those of public colleges.

The College Board reports that tuition and fees at public, four-year colleges rose by an average of 7.7 percent in the academic year of 2001-02. At private, four-year colleges the increase was a milder 5.5 percent.

The average increase for tuition and fees at UNC schools, however, was 12.9 percent. North Carolina State University, UNC-Asheville, and UNC-Greensboro received the largest increases among the UNC schools, 17.6 percent.

The average increase in tuition and fees in public colleges in the South were higher than the national average, at 10.0 percent, still less than UNC’s 12.9 percent increase.

Regardless, tuition and fees at UNC schools still trail those of public colleges in the South and nationally. In the South, the average student cost in tuition and fees in a public college in 2001-02 was $3,198, which is 33 percent higher than the average student cost in tuition and fees at UNC schools. Only N.C. State and UNC-Chapel Hill’s tuition and fees ($3,228 for N.C. State and $3,219 for UNC-CH) exceeded the South’s public-college average of $3,198. In the nation, the average cost in tuition and fees in a public college was $3,754 — 56 percent greater than the UNC average. The average cost in tuition and fees of attending a UNC school in 2001-02 was just $2,411.

Below is how UNC’s increases in in-state tuition and fees compare regionally and nationally:

School or region Tuition and fees 2001-02 One-year percentage increase
The South $3,198 10.0
The Nation 3,754 7.7
Appalachian St. 2,270 16.3
East Carolina 2,501 10.8
Elizabeth City St. 1,840 9.1
Fayetteville St. 1,770 14.8
NC A&T St. 2,239 15.5
NC Central 2,350 15.5
NC School Arts 2,877 11.0
NC State 3,228 17.6
UNC-Asheville 2,426 17.6
UNC-Chapel Hill 3,219 16.3
UNC-Charlotte 2,456 15.1
UNC-Greensboro 2,589 17.6
UNC-Pembroke 2,069 11.9
UNC-Wilmington 2,583 11.5
Western Carolina 2,237 -1.0
Winston-Salem St. 1,918 6.3
UNC averages 2,411 12.9

(Sources: UNC General Administration, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The College Board.)