The UNC-system Board of Governors unanimously approved a set of tuition increases Friday, but students shouldn’t start writing their checks just yet.
The board and UNC-system President Erskine Bowles have asked legislators to swap their tuition plan, finalized Friday, with the plan approved by the legislature in August.
If the legislature denies their request, the campuses simply won’t have enough money, Bowles said.
The UNC-system plan, which averages out to a 5.2 percent tuition increase systemwide, requests that tuition revenue come back to the campuses.
Fifty percent of revenue would go to financial aid, 25 percent to improving graduation and retention rates and 25 percent to other critical needs.
“The approach we’ve made is good sense,” Bowles said Friday.
“It provides needed resources for need-based aid and improving retention and graduation. We need some additional support there.”
They won’t know the decision until the legislature convenes in May.
Administrative costs have been trimmed so much that only two percent more can be cut from there, Bowles said.
“I think we can manage through the two percent cut that’s in the current draft of the budget. Beyond that, it will be a lot of pain to the academic side,” he said.
“If I were the students, that’s where I would be concerned.”
The legislature-initiated plan mandates that tuition revenue remain in the state’s general fund and raises tuition by the lesser of $200 or 8 percent.
Board of Governors Chairwoman Hannah Gage also indicated that tuition could also be raised further as a last resort.
“No one wants to arbitrarily raise tuition more than we have to unless we are backed into a corner,” Gage said Thursday.
“The last thing we would want to do is have (legislators) raise it and have us raise it as well. That’s plan B.”
The increases in the plan approved by the Board of Governors align with the increases recommended by individual campuses.
Those increases place less financial burden on residents and more on nonresidents, said UNC-system Vice President for Finance Rob Nelson.
The system has received no indication from the legislature whether it will consider replacing its own tuition plan with the one put forward by the UNC system, Nelson said.
Assistant State & National Editor Tarini Parti contributed reporting.
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