UNC Association of Student Governments officials met Friday to discuss a systemwide tuition increase passed earlier that day by the Board of Governors.
ASG representatives from eight UNC-system schools - including UNC-Chapel Hill - were present at the meeting.
The group opposed the 4 percent across-the-board tuition increase passed earlier by the BOG but supported how the money will be used - student financial aid.
"We're not happy with the 4 percent increase, but we are happy it goes toward financial aid," ASG Vice President Liz Gardner said.
The increase, mandated by the board's tuition-setting policy, is meant to offset rising system operating costs caused by inflation.
The 4 percent tuition increase is expected to produce about $8 million the first year. The money will partially fund a need-based financial aid package, according to the BOG's 2001-2003 budget request.
The BOG also will request nearly $18 million from the N.C. General Assembly during the next legislative session. Together tuition and legislative contributions would fully fund a $31 million need-based aid program the legislature began funding last year.
ASG President Andrew Payne thanked students, saying it was their persistent lobbying of system officials that ensured the funds raised from tuition were directed toward aid instead of other operating costs within the system.
Payne said directing the money toward aid is particularly important because officials at both Appalachian State University and UNC-Pembroke are examining the possibility of campus-initiated tuition increases.
Campus-initiated tuition requests are due to the UNC General Administration in December.
The proposals will then be presented to the BOG in the spring.
Last year, the BOG approved campus-initiated tuition requests from five system schools.
Payne said any campus-initiated tuition request would likely be limited to no more than $300 at each school.
Payne added that universities are supposed to show emergency needs to proceed with campus-initiated increases.
But he said those needs did not exist at this time.
"I didn't think criteria was met," he said. "It's not a dire need."
ASG members did take time from debating tuition increases to celebrate the overwhelming passage Nov. 7 of the $3.1 billion higher education bond.
Payne, passing on a suggestion from some BOG members, said each campus should hold a ceremony celebrating the bond's passage.
The bond will fund construction and renovation at each of the UNC-system's 16 schools and at the state's community colleges.
Payne said student leaders were excited by the bond's passage.
"We had the most to lose and gain," Payne said.
"If the bond failed, we would face a capital fee per student.
"The only way they could have generated the money was to put it on students."
Gardner attributed the success of the bond to widespread student support, which included bond rallies and voter registration campaigns.
"I couldn't have been more impressed," she said.
"It's probably the most outstanding thing the students could have done."
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