The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday December 8th

BOG Approves Finance Chief, Provost

DURHAM - The Board of Governors held a third workshop Friday to discuss the system's budget request for 2001-03, which will likely include new funding for enrollment growth, technology, and faculty salaries.

The BOG will vote next month on its 2001-02 budget request. UNC-system President Molly Broad's preliminary budget also includes a 4 percent systemwide tuition increase aimed at offsetting the system's rising operating costs.

At BOG Chairman Ben Ruffin's request, part of the workshop was spent reviewing the board's tuition-setting policy, adopted in 1998. The policy, which yielded the proposed 4 percent increase, aims to provide a framework by which tuition levels rise steadily with inflation.

Gary Barnes, UNC-system vice president for program assessment, said the procedure was meant to ensure that tuition levels rise steadily instead of increasing sharply to catch up with inflation.

Barnes also reviewed the process by which individual campuses are allowed to request tuition increases.

Last year, the BOG approved campus-initiated tuition increases at five system schools - including UNC-Chapel Hill - which were largely aimed at funding faculty salaries.

System policy states that campus-initiated tuition increases should only be allowed under extraordinary circumstances - circumstances that Broad said existed last year after Hurricane Floyd and two costly court rulings combined to drain the state's available resources.

Broad said after the meeting she had no idea whether campuses would request tuition increases this year. But she said fiscal constraints facing the state last year constituted extraordinary circumstances. "(`Extraordinary') means something you don't find every year," Broad said. "I think the burden of this policy fall on the campuses to prove that they are sustaining an extraordinary circumstance."

But Broad could not outline any criteria the board would use to determine if campuses meet that burden of proof.

The BOG will vote on any campus-initiated tuition increases in March at the same time that it sets student fees.

The preliminary two-year budget request also includes $113.7 million in new spending for programs aimed at increasing access to system schools, including enrollment growth and a need-based financial aid plan partially funded by the N.C. General Assembly this summer.

An additional $41.8 million would be appropriated to increase the effectiveness of technology across the system.

In addition to discussing the system's long-range budget priorities, BOG members also used Friday's meetings to examine the progress of the campaign to ensure passage of the $3.1 billion bond referendum that would fund capital improvements on the state's university and community college campuses. When the BOG reconvenes in November, N.C. voters will have determined the bond package's fate.

Public Affairs Committee Chairman Jim Phillips urged BOG members to continue working to inform voters about the bond until the Nov. 7 referendum. He urged board members, "Just keep on keepin' for the next three weeks."

The State & National Editor can be reached at stntdesk@unc.edu.


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