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The Daily Tar Heel

Out-of-state, out of mind

Hiking nonresident tuition without any predictability is unfair, shows that model is broken

Students should demand a fair, proportionate tuition increase for all students at the next tuition and fee advisory task force meeting Nov. 11.

The N.C. General Assembly has mandated in-state tuition rise by only $200, or 5.2 percent. But under the most recent plan, out-of-state students would be subject to a 6.5 percent increase — $1,414.30 for the next school year.

This is in contrast to the original proposal on the table: a fair, across-the-board increase of 5.2 percent.

It’s true the University will not receive about $3.4 million of the undergraduate tuition increase because of a tuition tax imposed by a desperate N.C. General Assembly earlier this year.

And UNC-system President Erskine Bowles is rightfully lobbying for these funds to be redirected to the University— where they belong.

The University sets a series of dangerous precedents by making out-of-state students pay more than their share.

Nonresident students are not responsible for state budget problems. They bring business to the state, pay about 97 percent of their tuition and are not a large burden on state-sponsored programs.

To make matters worse, the Board of Trustees and the administration have been stagnant on the issue of tuition predictability. Though tuition hikes have not exceeded 6.5 percent for any student since 2002, there is no way to predict where tuition will be in four years.

And it was just in 2008 that out-of-staters saw an increase of about $1,300 in tuition and fees, while residents didn’t pay an extra cent.

Punishing these students for budget problems, as a disproportionate tuition hike would do, is a low blow. Especially when, according to the new proposal, every out-of-state student will pay at least $700 a year for others, mainly in-state students, to attend UNC.

Shortages in money available for aid and faculty retentions are the burden chosen by the state for the University.

Instead of admitting more full paying, nonresident students or raising in-state tuition, the state continues to support an unsustainable model for a university of our caliber and ambitions.

Thus, nearly a quarter of the student body should not be forced to pay extra because the state refuses to admit more out-of-state students.

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