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The Daily Tar Heel

Business School Requests Lower Tuition Hike Due to Pricing Problems

Robert Sullivan, dean of the Kenan-Flagler Business School, asked the UNC-system Board of Governors Special Committee on Tuition and Fee Policies last week to reduce the tuition increase for some out-of-state students in the business school.

Sullivan asked that a school-specific tuition increase that is supposed to go into effect this year for all out-of-state master's of business administration students be reduced from $2,000 to $500 and that tuition for all out-of-state master's of accounting students be reduced from $1,300 to $100.

The Special Committee on Tuition and Fee Policies has no power to approve such a change. But the committee passed a motion asking the board's Budget and Finance Committee to consider the tuition reduction at its July meeting.

The rapid rise in the school's tuition can be attributed to both tuition requests made by school administrators and two large systemwide tuition increases.

Last year, tuition at the school increased by $4,400 due to a $2,000 school-specific increase request and a 9 percent systemwide increase approved by the N.C. General Assembly, which was used to cope with the state's budget crisis.

For the 2002-03 academic year, another $2,000 school-specific tuition increase is set to kick in, and the General Assembly is also considering a 12 percent systemwide tuition increase, which would raise tuition by another $2,800. Sullivan said business school administrators did not anticipate such a large systemwide increase when they asked for their own school-specific tuition increase last year.

While in previous years the tuition increases kept pace with national trends, Sullivan said a $4,800 tuition increase this academic year could price Kenan-Flagler out of its market.

"We're about to go down a path that will derail the school," Sullivan said.

With the $4,800 increase, tuition for the MBA program would reach $30,430, higher than any public school except the University of Michigan and only $1,000 less than the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University. Applications for many of the top-ranked MBA programs increased by about 20 to 30 percent last year, while applications at Kenan-Flagler decreased slightly.

Sullivan said it is important for out-of-state tuition to remain within the lowest tier of the top 20 MBA programs nationwide for the school to be able to recruit the best students from across the country.

Sullivan said, "When industry and others look at us ... they are not just saying they want the best from North Carolina, we want the best from all over the world that come to North Carolina."

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