The 2010-11 budget recommendations released Tuesday by N.C. Gov. Bev Perdue were mostly better-than-expected news for the UNC system.
Still, the proposal could be difficult to handle.
Perdue exempted the education sector from a 5 percent to 7 percent that will be applied to most other sectors. Cuts to education would be less than 4 percent in her plan, according to a press release.
The Legislative ProposalA statewide tuition increase of the lesser of $200 or 8 percent of this year’s tuition, all of which would go into the state’s general fund rather than returning to the schools. The general fund can be used for almost anything in North Carolina’s budget.
The Board of Governors proposalA tuition increase that averages 5.2 percent or $131 systemwide, with 50 percent of the revenue going to need-based financial aid, 25 percent going to graduation and retention efforts and 25 percent being spent on other critical needs.
But UNC-system President Erskine Bowles said recently that anything more than a 2 percent cut would be devastating.
Perdue also delivered good news on tuition — she recommended the legislature repeal its mandate in favor of a tuition plan proposed by the system’s Board of Governors.
The board’s tuition proposal increases tuition by less than the legislature’s mandate and brings all revenue back to the campuses, while the legislature’s plan would direct revenue to the state’s general fund.
The general fund can be spent almost anywhere in the state’s budget, while half the money brought back to campuses would be spent on financial aid.
This is the first clear sign on the issue given by a political figure since Bowles and the board began floating the idea in late 2009.
N.C. Rep. Verla Insko, D-Orange, said Tuesday that she thinks legislators have become more sympathetic to the UNC system’s needs since the tuition mandate was approved in August and are likely to go along with Perdue’s recommendation.
“No one really wanted to do that last year. The budget deficit was so huge that we thought that was less detrimental than some other things,” she said.
The legislature will reconvene in May to finalize the budget.
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