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The Daily Tar Heel

BOG Plans Tuition Evaluation

The BOG gave the green light to tuition increases at Appalachian State University, N.C. Agricultural & Technical State University, N.C. Central University, UNC-Asheville, UNC-Greensboro and UNC-Pembroke.

The board also approved a request to increase tuition for various graduate and professional programs at UNC-Chapel Hill, specifically excluding currently enrolled medical and dental students from any increase.

Only a slight dispute arose among board members as to the necessity of the six campuswide increases. But most seemed to agree that the frequency with which the BOG has approved campus-initiated tuition requests proves that flaws exist in the board's tuition-setting policy, adopted in November 1998.

"It made sense conceptually, and now we see what happens practically," said UNC-system President Molly Broad. "I think (the board) cares very sincerely about reassessing the policy."

The BOG plans to begin its re-evaluation at an April workshop. Board members declined to speculate on what changes the BOG would consider.

The six increases, which will largely fund faculty salaries and financial aid aimed at offsetting the increased cost, raise the total number of UNC institutions that have been granted campus-initiated tuition increases in the past two years to 11.

In February 2000, the BOG approved campus-initiated tuition requests at five other system schools, including UNC-Chapel HIll.

The board's tuition-setting policy, besides providing a framework for handling systemwide inflationary tuition increases, states that campus-initiated tuition requests only be allowed under extraordinary circumstances.

Andrew Payne, the BOG's lone student representative, was one of three board members to speak out against the six increases prior to their nearly unanimous approval. Payne said during the meeting that BOG members were inappropriately allowing tuition increases simply because the proposals had faced no substantial opposition on the campus level.

"I believe that if you went to my campus right now and asked for a tuition increase for the basketball team, you would find wide approval," said Payne, who is a senior at N.C. State University. "But that does not necessarily make it an extraordinary circumstance."

BOG member John Sanders also argued against the increases, saying that similar increases granted in the past two years blatantly violate the board's own tuition policy.

"By the action we took a year ago, and the action I believe we will take today, we have effectively abandoned the policy the board adopted two years ago," Sanders said.

Payne said after the meeting that he was pleased the board agreed to re-examine the policy.

"I sort of knew coming in that these increases were going to occur because of what happened last year," he said, adding that he hopes the board will decide to do away with campus-initiated tuition requests altogether.

If the board's action is approved by the N.C. General Assembly, tuition will increase for each of the next two years by $300 at UNC-A, by $150 at ASU, N.C. A&T and UNC-G, and by $80 at UNC-P. At N.C. Central, tuition will increase only during the 2001-02 school year by $200 for undergraduate students, $288 for graduate students and $394 for professional students.

Using the tuition-setting policy, the BOG also approved a 4 percent systemwide tuition increase in November aimed at offsetting rising operating costs due to inflation.

On Wednesday, the BOG also approved annual fee increases on the 16 campuses, including a 2.8 percent increase at UNC-CH that will require students to pay an additional $21.10 in 2001-02.

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

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