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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC-G Proposes Year's 1st Tuition Increase to BOG

But the UNC-G increase has not yet been met with the mobilized student opposition that characterized last year's tuition debate.

The UNC-G Board of Trustees voted unanimously Thursday to raise tuition by $300 to $75 a semester for four semesters. The increase would take effect next fall.

If approved by the Board of Governors and the N.C. General Assembly, 60 percent of the increase would supplement faculty and staff recruitment and salaries, 29 percent would fund student aid and the remainder would go to boost student services, said UNC-G Associate Provost Alan Boyette.

The General Assembly approved similar campus-initiated tuition increases at five UNC-system schools this summer, including UNC-Chapel Hill and N.C. State University. The $600 UNC-CH increase, which is being implemented this school year and next, funded faculty salary increases.

UNC-G Student Body President John Shearin voted for the proposal and said the increase is necessary for the school to recruit and retain quality faculty.

"If they cannot find other means to find the money, the quality of education here, over a few years, would drop," he said.

Shearin, who was a member of a committee that studied the possible impact of the tuition increase, said he thinks the amount of the increase was fair. "The $150 a year is pretty much what was needed," he said.

UNC-G trustee Sue Cole said the study committee thoroughly examined the issue. "There was an excellent study done, with very wide representation," Cole said.

Boyette said the committee held forums in September to solicit student input on the increase and received mostly positive feedback.

But the increase took UNC Association of Student Governments President Andrew Payne by surprise.

"This is the first I've heard of it," Payne said when contacted Sunday.

He said the UNC-G increase would trigger a string of increases at other UNC-system schools.

Shortly after UNC-CH trustees voted to increase tuition Oct. 28, 1999, four other UNC-system schools passed similar measures. "It's disappointing that what happened last year is carrying over to this year," Payne said. "If we continue to increase tuition like this, we will be closing the door of opportunity to higher education."

He said Appalachian State University and UNC-Pembroke are considering similar increases, though neither school's trustees have voted on tuition proposals.

Payne said he plans to work with BOG members who oppose tuition increases to try to stop UNC-G's increase. "There's division among the governors on this issue," Payne said. "I'm very optimistic that we can sway them."

The board approved the last round of tuition increases Feb. 11, in the face of fervent student opposition.

A proposal from then-ASG President Jeff Nieman that would have limited February's tuition increases to UNC-CH and N.C. State failed by a 17-11 vote - a close margin by BOG standards.

But Payne admitted that he has not yet developed a specific strategy to combat what might become a second round of tuition increases. "The exact plan of action isn't in place," he said.

Pending legislation in the state legislature would increase faculty salaries by 6 percent for the next two years, eliminating the need for UNC-G's increase, Payne said. "They just felt they had to keep up with the other schools that have increased tuition," he said.

Payne said campus-initiated tuition increases are unfair to schools that do not want to increase tuition.

"Some campuses lag behind if they can't increase tuition," Payne said. "As certain campuses increase tuition, other campuses feel they also have to increase their tuition to keep up."

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

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