UNC-CH approves tuition increase

CHAPEL HILL – UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees members voted Thursday to increase tuition for in-state students by $200 and out-of-state students by $950. The approved increase is a lesser amount than what trustees members had considered the previous day.

UNC-CH’s request will join others within the UNC system for a possible vote on tuition increases next month during the Board of Governors meeting on Feb. 11. Board of Governors Chair Brad Wilson has been outspoken in his belief that, after several consecutive years of tuition increases, UNC system students deserve a break.

According UNC-CH spokesman Mike McFarland, the UNC-CH tuition increase came after extensive discussion Wednesday during the Audit and Finance and University Affairs committee meetings. At the end of the discussions, trustees members focused on increases of $250 for in-state students and $1,000 for out-of-state students. Out-of-state students addressed trustees during the meeting to describe how the increase would have a negative effect on out-of-state students desiring to attend UNC-Chapel Hill.

When the full board met Thursday at the Carolina Inn, trustees voted to reduce the increase by $50 for both in-state and out-of-state students.

Currently, in-state students pay $4,451 per year to attend UNC-CH. Under the proposed increase, they would pay $4,651 — an increase of 4.5 percent.

Out-of-state students now pay $17,549 per year in tuition at UNC-CH. If the increase receives approval, they would pay $18,499 — an increase of 5.4 percent.

In November, UNC-CH’s Tuition Advisory Task Force, led by Provost Robert Shelton, had presented UNC-CH’s board three options on tuition increases. One option would have increased tuition for in-state students by $350 and for out-of-state students by $800. Another option would have called for increases of $300 for in-state students and $1,000 for out-of-state students. UNC-CH Chancellor James Moeser supported the third option; under it, in-state tuition would have increased by $250 and out-of-state tuition by $1,200.

Also at that meeting, the board heard a Tuition/Price Sensitivity presentation that warned that “Rising cost of college is a serious concern for both in-and -out-of-state prospects.”

UNC-CH joins other UNC system schools that have requested tuition increases for the upcoming school year. N.C. State seeks a $300 increase for 2005-06 and also for 2006-07. East Carolina’s Board of Trustees approved a $300 increase for the upcoming school year in December. Appalachian State’s board has also approved a request for increasing tuition for the coming year.

Wilson said he believes the UNC Board of Governors must decide to hold the line on tuition increases for the coming year. He said the previous tuition increases have made it possible for the UNC system to keep tuition at current levels next year.

Wilson said that instead of another round of tuition increases, the UNC system should work with the General Assembly to obtain what he considered adequate funding for the system.

“It is still my position we should not increase tuition this year,” Wilson said. He said that allowing further increases “is an educational policy we should not take this year.”

Shannon Blosser (sblosser@popecenter.org) is a staff writer with the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy in Chapel Hill.