The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Saturday January 22nd

BOG OKs Proposal To Increase Tuition

The Board of Governors unanimously approved a two-year budget, which includes a 4 percent inflationary tuition increase, during its Friday meeting in the UNC-system General Administration building.

System officials estimate that the increase will generate $16.5 million over two years, which will be allocated to a need-based financial aid program. The 2001-03 budget request also asks state officials for $37 million over two years to fully fund the program.

UNC-system President Molly Broad said system officials carefully balanced tuition increases, basing them each year on inflation to avoid overwhelming students with large increases every few years. "This policy is carefully crafted to balance our constitutional philosophy, while acknowledging that inflation is real," Broad said.

UNC officials used the consumer price index, the Higher Education Price Index and a third economic index measuring the growth of the state's per capita personal income to determine that tuition should increase by 4 percent. All three economic indices measure how inflation impacts prices.

The budget also requests a 6 percent increase in faculty salaries for 2001-02 and 2002-03. UNC-Chapel Hill raised tuition by $600 this school year to provide additional funds for faculty salaries.

The budget also calls for increased spending on multidisciplinary fields, such as biotechnology and marine science. Broad said these fields were selected because of their possible impact on the state's economy. But she said it is doubtful the state can find enough funds to meet all the budget requests.

Board members also discussed the increasing minority enrollment at UNC-system schools, heralding a predicted enrollment growth of 48,000 students in the next eight years.

Gretchen Bataille, UNC-system vice president for academic affairs, reported to the board that enrollment is at its highest level ever - 162,761 students. Minority student enrollment also increased by at least 726 students systemwide.

Bataille said the increase in minority enrollment mirrors the state's population. "This reflects (that) we are keeping pace with the changing dynamics of the state of North Carolina," she said.

BOG members also took time out to celebrate passage of the $3.1 billion higher education bond and discuss ways to grease the construction process. The bond will fund construction and repairs at UNC-system schools and the state's community colleges.

BOG member Jim Phillips, chairman of the Public Affairs Committee, which helped coordinate efforts to pass the bond, said the bond's passage represented a new commitment to education.

But BOG Chairman Ben Ruffin said bureaucratic red tape could delay the construction process because the General Assembly requires a bid for every construction project, which often drives up the price. Ruffin said he thinks state legislators could be persuaded to waive some parts of the bidding process. "If we don't get a moratorium (on the bid process), the facilities won't be built in a timely manner," he said. "Costs will escalate, and the building won't be the same size and quality."

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