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The Daily Tar Heel

Equal hikes needed: Bowles should follow Thorp’s, BOT’s recommendations

UNC’s student body, the chancellor and the Board of Trustees support a low, equal percentage tuition hike for all students for the 2009-10 school year.

Erskine Bowles, president of the UNC-system, would be wise to do the same.

On Nov. 13, Bowles announced that he did not believe out-of-state students are entitled to low tuition.

But it would be wrong of Bowles to approve higher percentage tuition increases for out-of-state students.

This would pass the burden of the state budget crisis to out-of-state students, who are not at fault for decisions made by representatives they did not elect.

After all, by instituting a cap on out-of-state students and keeping in-state tuition low, the General Assembly has chosen to limit UNC’s funding sources.

Bowles should not force out-of-state students to bear that burden.

In addition, Bowles told The Daily Tar Heel, “We have an obligation to the taxpayers of North Carolina. For out-of-state students, we ought to be much more market-driven.”

It’s hard to imagine how much more “market-driven” out-of-state tuition can be. After all, out-of-state students already pay more than 97 percent of the value of their education.

In addition, Bowles cites UNC-Chapel Hill as the best value in the country for out-of-state students. Nonresident tuitions at University of Virginia and the University of Michigan both cost about $10,000 more per year than our nonresident tuition.

But the “you’re-lucky-your-tuition-is-so-low” argument does not resound well with out-of-state students.

The two institutions cited also cap out-of-state admission at more than 30 percent and charge nearly double our tuition for in-state students.

Coincidently, the two surpass UNC in the U.S. News & World Report ranking of top public universities.

And as much as Bowles would like to blind himself to the issue, he represents the interests of out-of-state students at UNC as well.

The University has been crystal clear. This year, its leaders recognized the obligation to keep tuition hikes fair and manageable for every student — regardless of tax status. This is in the best interest of the students.

Bowles should recognize this and approve the 5.2 across-the-board tuition increase for undergraduates.

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