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The Daily Tar Heel

$750 tuition hike passes

Tops previously approved $200

Tuition will be raised by $750 for all UNC-Chapel Hill students starting this fall.

At an impromptu meeting Tuesday, system schools presented the UNC-system Board of Governors with their proposed tuition hikes.

UNC-CH proposed raising all resident, non-resident and graduate students’ tuition by $750 this fall.

UNC-system President Erskine Bowles was set to approve the increases Wednesday. Combined with the previously approved $200 increase by the UNC-CH Board of Trustees last year, the raise would bring the total tuition increase to $950 — a 17 percent increase for in-state students. In-state tuition and fees from the 2009-2010 school year were $5,625.44.

Chapel Hill was one of three system schools, including N.C. State University and UNC School of the Arts, that went with the maximum tuition increase allowed by the 2010 state budget signed June 30. Other system schools opted for smaller increases or to spread their hikes out during the next two years.

Bowles gave campuses conditions that they had to fill to have their hikes approved, such as supporting academics and setting aside 20 percent for need-based financial aid.

Board of Governors Chairwoman Hannah Gage said the increase was the best of bad options due to the budget cuts the system is facing.

The state cut $70 million from the system budget.

“No one wants to use tuition as a fiscal tool, and no one wants to do this on the backs of students, but the reality is clear now that the economy has crashed,” Gage said.

Schools must put a maximum of 20 percent of the $750 tuition hike go toward need-based aid.

But UNC-CH has the flexibility to increase the percentage of need-based aid taken from its first hike, and opted to make the entire $200 increase go toward need-based aid.

Now, 37 percent of the total $950 tuition increase will go to need-based aid next year at Chapel Hill.

Both UNC-CH Chancellor Holden Thorp and Provost Bruce Carney are out of the office this week.

UNC-CH Student Body President Hogan Medlin said he was surprised that the University decided to raise tuition by the maximum amount. He said he was not aware of the reasoning and wished the administration had sought more student input.

“It was such a time-pressed and time-constrained issue, and we should have had more time to talk beforehand,” Medlin said.

He said one of his main concerns will be the ability of middle-income students to afford the increase.

Bowles said he doesn’t think many students will be affected next year.

“Our tuition, even with these increases, is low by anybody’s standards. If you look at our campuses, they are … near the lowest of all their public peers,” he said.

He added that the system might be in the same position next year.

“I think that there is some possibility … that the Board of Governors will be back at the legislature and the legislature will require some additional tuition to what we have here,” Bowles said.

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