UNC professional schools consider additional tuition increases
Tuition increases approved Nov. 17 by the Board of Trustees will represent just a portion of cost hikes for some graduate students.
Many of the University’s professional schools are proposing additional increases as a part UNC’s overall plan, which proposes increasing in-state tuition by 15.6 percent for the 2012-13 academic year.
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Bruce Carney said each school’s hikes are aimed at maintaining quality compared to peer institutions.
He said his office was not directly involved in the details of the requested increases, but tried to ensure that the schools’ tuition remain affordable and a portion of the increases be set aside for financial aid.
The University’s tuition proposal will be considered by the UNC-system Board of Governors in February. Professional schools are not bound by the 6.5 percent cap set by the board on tuition increases for in-state students.
Carney said school-based tuition increases have been permitted for many years.
The School of Medicine — which is proposing a $1,000 tuition increase — faces the rising costs to train medical doctors and professionals, Carney said.
“(Doctors) are a particularly expensive group to educate and consequently medical school costs across the country are extremely high,” he said.
Karen Stone, assistant dean for medical education operations in the School of Medicine, said 30 percent of the school-based tuition increase was allotted to financial aid.
She said despite potential increases, the School of Medicine is still relatively cheaper than its peers.
“Our students graduate in the bottom three percent for debt nationally,” she said.
“Prices do have to go up, but it is still a fabulous deal.”
Charlotte Nunez-Wolff, associate dean for business and finance in the Gillings School of Global Public Health, said in an email that the increases will aid faculty salaries.
“Our faculty salaries have fallen well below the Association of Schools of Public Health’s average benchmark for all departments and substantially below the 75th percentile benchmark,” she said.
The issue of faculty salaries was used as a major selling point by administrators for the general tuition hikes.
The School of Public Health proposes increasing tuition an additional $750 or $1,400, depending on a student’s program and resident status.
Nunez-Wolff said 33 percent of revenue from tuition will be used for financial aid to minimize the burden.
“We are confident that the combination of financial aid for students and salary for faculty members will help to keep this school strong for the years ahead,” she said.
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