The student body president has always faced difficulties when it comes to tuition — namely balancing student interests with UNC’s fiscal needs. But next year’s chief student representative could face greater challenges than usual.
This year, the student body president and vice president advocated for the lower of two tuition proposals favored by administrators, a suggestion supported by many students and adopted by the Board of Trustees.
But administrators have warned against the long-term impact of comparatively low tuition on the quality of the University. Some said next year’s student body president will face greater pressure to raise tuition in light of fiscal difficulties.
Tuition in the platforms:
“We will fight to keep tuition as low as possible. Why should we have to pay for oureducation?”
“Continue to host tuition talks throughout the semester with the Board of Trustees.”
“My administration will work ... to ensure that tuition rates remain fair for students.”
“I will work to ensure that all students understand the tuition process so they can play a part in advocating for the decisions that will affect them.”
No mention of tuition in her platform.
No mention of tuition in his platform.
“We look to the student body president to help us craft a solution to meet the needs of the University, while taking into account the opinions of the students,” said Bob Winston, chairman of the Board of Trustees.
“They bring the perspective of the students to the board, and that’s something that’s hard for us to get,” Winston said. “We don’t live on campus and we aren’t out and about every day. We are interested to hear from the students when we look at what our needs are.”
The student body president represents students as one of two chairmen of the tuition and fee advisory task force, the committee where tuition proposals originate. The chancellor then considers the task force’s proposal and makes a recommendation to the Board of Trustees, of which the student body president is a voting member and the only student representative.
Tuition supports need-based financial aid, student academic services, course offerings, faculty retention and graduate student awards.
Shirley Ort, director of scholarships and student aid, said the student body president has a tough assignment when it comes to tuition.
“They are in a difficult position in the sense they have two loyalties — one, to be an advocate to the students, but also to their fiduciary responsibilities as a trustee,” she said. “Most of us here, as administrators, have one loyalty — to the needs of the University. And we do what we believe is in the best interest of the University, but students really look to the student body president to be their advocate.”
Trustee John Ellison said he’s concerned this year’s tuition decision could have a long-range impact on the school, something next year’s student body president will deal with.
“It is pretty much a given that there are going to be more budget cuts that Chapel Hill will have to endure,” he said. “For one year or two years, you can choose low tuition without having a negative effect on the quality of a degree, but you cannot do it for an extended amount of time.”
But junior Ryan Morgan, former Board of Elections chairman, said most students do not realize the student body president is their representative when it comes to tuition.
“Nobody takes into account tuition negotiations when voting,” he said.
Contact the University Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.