The Daily Tar Heel

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Friday December 3rd

Thorp recommends highest allowable tuition increase

Chancellor Holden Thorp recommended that the maximum allowed tuition increase come before the Board of Trustees today.

In making his selection, Thorp cited the difficult economic and political climate as reasons for his decision to pass over at least two other proposals that would have lessened the burden on some students.

6.5 percent increase
  • Members of the Board of Trustees will consider and vote on a 6.5 percent tuition increase today. Below are the proposed 2011-12 rates:
  • Resident undergrad $5,128
  • Non-resident undergrad $24,953
  • Resident graduate $6,777
  • Non-resident graduate $22,464
  • Estimated additional campus-based tuition increase revenue: $15,012,495

“In recommending the highest one, it’s not what I did the first two years,” said Thorp, who is in his third academic year as chancellor. “It’s just the severity of the financial situation that we have before us.”

Thorp recommended a 6.5 percent increase for all undergraduate students to the board’s audit and finance committee Wednesday, which voted unanimously to send the proposal to the full board. The board typically approves measures passed in committee.

No student advocates were present at Wednesday’s meeting, but Student Body President Hogan Medlin worked with the tuition and fees advisory task force at their meetings this fall to present Thorp with an alternative, lower option.
“I applaud Hogan and his colleagues for trying to keep those costs down, but as Holden said, it’s going to be an extraordinarily tough year,” said Bruce Carney, executive vice chancellor and provost.

The state is expecting a budget shortfall of about $3.5 billion, and the University is anticipating a cut of 10 percent, or $54 million.

Of the approximately $15 million derived from tuition increases, 45 percent will be devoted to financial aid. The other $8.5 million will represent only about one-sixth of the expected $54 million shortfall.
The increases must receive approval from the UNC-system Board of Governors and the N.C. General Assembly, but they could later change.

Last summer, the legislature allowed schools to impose an additional $750 increase on top of already-approved rates to help offset cuts from the state.

Administrators said they could easily envision a similar situation this year, and Medlin said he was pushing for lower initial increases with this possibility in mind. He said he hopes to bring discussion of this possibility to the full board today.

Contact University Editor at udesk@unc.edu.

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