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2 N.C. Schools Approve Tuition Hike Requests

2 N.C. Schools Approve Tuition Hike Requests

Undergraduate and graduate tuition would go up $150 a year for two years at N.C. A&T. N.C. Central trustees approved a one-time increase of $200 for undergraduate students.

N.C. Central graduate students could see a $288 increase in their tuition, and law students might pay an extra $394.

But all the proposed increases are contingent on approval from the Board of Governors and the N.C. General Assembly. If approved, the additional money would fund faculty salary increases and financial aid to offset the increased cost at both schools.

The BOG will review the proposed tuition increases at its March 9 meeting.

The two historically black colleges and universities have one of the lowest tuition rates in the UNC system. Both charge $982 a semester for in-state undergraduate students.

According to The News & Record, a newspaper in Greensboro, 40 percent of the N.C. A&T increase would go toward student financial aid, another 40 percent to faculty recruitment and retention and 10 percent to student support services, such as health care and recreational facilities.

N.C. Central officials say the increase would help ease a $3.6 million budget shortfall prompted by a reversion of funds to the state.

Earlier this month UNC-system officials agreed to return more than $32 million in funding to help the state deal with its nearly $800 million budget shortfall.

The two increases bring the number of system schools requesting tuition increases this year to five. The BOG approved tuition increases at five other system schools -- including UNC-Chapel Hill -- last year.

The BOG already approved a 4 percent systemwide tuition increase earlier this year to offset rising operating costs caused by inflation.

Brenda Brodie, a member of the N.C. Central Board of Trustees, said the school faces so many financial needs that state funds are not enough to meet all of its requirements. "(The tuition increase) is the only alternative if we are going to be an institution we are inspired to be," Brodie said.

She added that N.C. Central students understand the need for the tuition increase and have not protested it.

Brodie also said the increase is not going to solve all of the school's financial problems and will only serve to meet its basic financial needs.

She added that the tuition increase will help N.C. Central attract more students because the money can expand the school's financial aid program.

Brodie said N.C. Central trustees felt pressure to compete with other system schools -- a sentiment she said led to approval of the increase.

She expressed the hope that the Board of Governors will approve the decision.

No members of N.C. A&T's board could be reached for comment.

Some BOG members said campus-initiated tuition increases, which allow each UNC-system school to raise tuition, enable schools to keep their tuition competitive. BOG member Ray Farris said he recognizes the need for tuition to remain competitive.

Farris said it would be better to raise undergraduate tuition because there were more applicants at that level than on the graduate level. He explained that schools should only propose tuition increases under extraordinary circumstances.

"The Board of Governors will meet to find out if the schools have such kind of circumstances," he said.

But BOG member John Sanders said campus-initiated tuition increases create the possibility of schools trying to top each other. "The experience supports that kind of perspective," Sanders said.

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A tuition increase proposed at UNC-CH in fall 1999 was rapidly followed by similar proposals at N.C. State University, East Carolina University, UNC-Charlotte and UNC-Wilmington.

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

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