And several campus classrooms would become even tighter with course sections reduced by the hundreds.
For example, UNC-Greensboro would lose 910 to 1,120 course sections if budgets are reduced by 10 percent.
Looking at the numbers, Bowles said the fate of the universities could be in trouble if cuts continue at high levels.
“At some point, if we keep having cuts, cuts, cuts, we’ll have to look at eliminating campuses,” he said.
“If this went on for several years, that would be the smart decision — the unfortunate smart decision.”
In the last three years, the system has cut $575 million, 23 percent in expenses and nearly 900 administrative positions.
Additional 5 percent cuts next year would eliminate 800 jobs and a 10 percent cut would eliminate 1,700. Most of the cuts would impact faculty and other academic positions.
Board members were uncertain if even their minimal requests would be met by the state legislature, which was taken over by Republicans Tuesday night.
Losing liaisons like N.C. Sen. Marc Basnight could have a huge impact on the board members’ lobbying efforts in the spring.
“Whether we’ll get any of this stuff, who knows,” Bowles said. “But this is the bare minimum. We’ll be fighting for it.”
Republican legislators, who were voted into office Tuesday, campaigned on dealing with the state’s more than $3 billion budget shortfall by making even deeper cuts, meaning a budget reduction even greater than 10 percent for the system could be possible.
The board’s budget and finance committee also approved a final draft of the system’s new tuition policy — “A Second Four-Year Plan.”
After considering several recommendations, the board decided to stick to the existing plan’s main guidelines.
However, it does allow campuses to submit proposals for additional tuition increases beyond the 6.5 percent cap for undergraduate in-state residents in times of need.
Some members said the new clause in the policy could be a “slippery slope” because it could be hard to determine which schools’ increases were needed more than others.
The full board is expected to vote on the policy today.
Contact the State & National Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.