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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC Not Sure About Matching Child-Care Fees

Before student voters passed the referendum last February, the Chancellor's Child-Care Advisory Committee made a formal recommendation to the administration that the University match any revenue generated from the increase in student fees.

But Sue Kitchen, vice chancellor for student affairs, said a discussion about matching funds is premature because the 75-cent student fee increase has not officially been approved by the necessary governing bodies.

Kitchen said the Student Audit Fee Committee, the Chancellor's Committee on Student Fees and the UNC-CH Board of Trustees all must approve the increase before it is implemented. If those three groups approve the increase, it then can be considered by the UNC-system Board of Governors, who ultimately approves all student fees.

Kitchen said the increase will not be considered by the BOG until 2003. Because the BOT submits its fee proposals to the BOG in January, the results of the February referendum could not be considered for the next academic year. The earliest increase would be implemented for fall 2003, Kitchen said.

Kitchen said that if the BOG approves the increase, University administrators could begin to consider the possibility of matching the generated funds. "If the fee goes into effect, then we would look at a request (to match funds) during the University's budget process," she said.

While the possibility of matching funds is uncertain, advocates of improved child-care options are pressing forward to complete the necessary paper work in order to have the recommendation considered. Child-care committee member Marc David said Chancellor James Moeser received the recommendation in mid-February and instructed the committee to forward its recommendation to the University Priority and Budget Committee, which makes funding decisions about the school's budget.

But Kitchen said that in light of the state's budget crisis, it is difficult to predict whether UNC will be able to match an increase. "We're in for some tough times. We are certainly going to have to make some very tough choices."

Child-care committee members are working on the final stages of drafting a letter to present to the UNC's budget committee in which they will expand on their recommendation.

Graduate and Professional Student Federation President Branson Page also pushed for child care when he met with officials to discuss the program last week.

Page said he and Kitchen met Friday to discuss the allocation of possible funds from the referendum. Options discussed include lowering child-care costs at the Friday Center and subsidizing costs at other non-UNC facilities.

Page said he hopes administrators will show their commitment to child care. "We just hope that the support that the students have shown for an increase in their fees and for the issue of child care will be something that the administration will look upon favorably."

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