The Daily Tar Heel

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Friday March 24th

Groups Seek Involvement In Process

Students and administrators are hoping to have input into crafting a tuition hike proposal the BOT will hear.

At the semester's first Board of Trustees meeting Thursday, Chancellor James Moeser said work would begin soon to determine if the five year, campus-initiated tuition increase plan he has suggested is necessary. The findings will be reported at the next BOT meeting in November.

No committee has been appointed yet to conduct the study, but Moeser said a lot of the research might be done privately within the BOT.

But Provost Robert Shelton said the process should include members of the student body, faculty and staff. "When we put together a committee, students should be involved," he said.

Student Body President Justin Young said he does not know exactly what Moeser is planning but that he hopes to be a part of the decision-making process. "I would hope he would not propose much of anything without consulting the students," Young said. "I definitely will be working side-by-side with the big guy."

Moeser first suggested a five-year plan for tuition increases to fund faculty salaries during his Sept. 5 State of the University address.

"Clearly, we must continue with graduated and measured campus-initiated increases in tuition over the next several years to address issues about the quality of the education we provide," Moeser said in the address.

Moeser reiterated his commitment to a five-year plan for increased tuition in his remarks at Thursday's BOT meeting.

In 1999, the BOT proposed a five-year tuition increase plan at the recommendation of a committee -- which included two students -- that was designed to investigate faculty salary needs.

But the proposal was met with heavy student protests, and the Board of Governors shortened it to a two-year plan. The N.C. General Assembly also enacted a 9 percent across-the-board tuition hike this semester.

Moeser said the effects of the previous BOT tuition increase, a large chunk of which also was used to improve faculty salaries, will be a main factor in the decision to propose another increase.

"We plan to update our faculty salary study to ensure we benchmark ourselves with our peers nationally," Moeser said.

Shelton said Tuesday that this research is going to be key in the decision-making process. "This isn't something we are going to do in a cavalier, simplistic manner," Shelton said. "We need to gather information and see where we are and see if (an increase) makes sense."

Shelton and Moeser both insisted that any increase would not affect students receiving need-based financial aid. About one-third of the possible increase will be used to ensure that no students will be turned away because they cannot afford the University, Moeser said. "We can remain faithful to the State Constitution by designating a significant portion of the increase to need-based financial aid."

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