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The Daily Tar Heel

5.2 percent tuition hike chosen by Chancellor Thorp

Brings proposals within state’s legal limits

DTH/Ariel Rudolph and Kristen Long
DTH/Ariel Rudolph and Kristen Long

Chancellor Holden Thorp said Thursday he will recommend increasing tuition next year by the smaller of two options he had been considering.

That option — a 5.2 percent increase for undergraduate students and 3.7 percent for graduate students — keeps increases for in-state students to the $200 hike set by the N.C. General Assembly, and increases out-of-state students’ tuition accordingly.

Out-of-state undergraduates would pay $1,126.68 more for tuition while non-resident graduate students would see their tuition increase $731.98 under the plan.

N.C. lawmakers mandated a tuition increase of $200 on all students, then directed that money to the state’s budget. UNC officials are looking to out-of-state students to replace that lost revenue.

The tuition and fee advisory task force recommended two proposals to Thorp on Wednesday: the option he selected as well as a plan to increase tuition for all students by 6.5 percent.

Members of the task force indicated their preferences for the higher tuition increase after they had recommended both policies to Thorp, claiming campus funding priorities would not be covered.

One day later, Thorp said he would support the lesser increase, siding with Student Body President Jasmin Jones and Student Body Vice President David Bevevino, who were on the task force and were the dissenting votes in favor of the smaller increase.

“I think that in this case the legislature kind of put the $200 out there and we should follow that,” Thorp said. “I think that’s the consensus and that it’ll go smoothly at the Board of Governors.”

The UNC-system General Administra-tion told its Board of Governors and chancellors Thursday they were not to increase in-state tuition by more than $200. The General Administration also described a plan to try to retrieve tuition revenue now lost to the state.

Thorp acknowledged that the lesser tuition figure would leave some holes in the University’s funding in the future.

“If the demand for need-based aid keeps coming up, at some point, we’re going to have to rely on tuition to make up the difference,” Thorp said.

The money going to financial aid will be enough to cover additional students who need more money to cover increased tuition costs, said Shirley Ort, director of scholarships and student aid.

UNC will be giving out a smaller proportion of scholarships this year in favor of less expensive loans and other forms of aid. It will probably also face difficulties raising adequate money to retain its faculty, administrators said.

“It’s going to make some people’s lives harder no matter how this shakes out,” said Bruce Carney, interim executive vice chancellor and provost. “It won’t be enough to meet our needs.”

Administrators say one of their crucial goals now is changing the budget law to retain the $5.3 million that was lost from UNC to the state when the state mandated its tuition increase. Thorp’s tuition proposal will bring about $3.9 million back to campus.

Out-of-State Student Association President Ryan Morgan said the lower proposal is a good step, but the best scenario would be all of the increase coming back.

“At UNC, we’re united in thinking our money shouldn’t go back to the state,” Morgan said. “Nobody wants to sacrifice the quality of the University for anything.”

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