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UNC system wants to split $200 tuition increase with state

The UNC-system Board of Governors proposed a plan Thursday to balance the universities’ and state’s needs for additional money while keeping tuition costs down for students.

UNC-system President Erskine Bowles also said he does not want campuses to raise in-state tuition by more than the $200 mandated by the legislature. UNC-Chapel Hill’s tuition and fee advisory task force recommended a larger increase Wednesday.

“In no case can in-state tuition go higher than $200,” Bowles said. “I’m a low-tuition guy. I don’t think students need to be the primary source of funding.”

Bowles’ plan would allow universities to draw money back from the tuition hike already instituted by the state legislature instead of further increasing tuition.

The N.C. General Assembly mandated in the budget passed this summer a tuition increase by the lesser of $200 or 8 percent for all students.

The revenue from that tuition increase goes to the state’s general fund, rather than going directly to the system.

“Students are paying more and we are not getting quality improvements,” said John Davis III, chairman of the board’s budget and finance committee.

Bowles said he will lobby legislators to allow universities to keep at least 50 percent of the revenue generated by money now lost to the state.

Those funds would help make up for the $12 million less in need-based financial aid the UNC system received this year.

Bowles said he wants the other half of the funds to go toward improving retention and graduation rates.

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