The Daily Tar Heel

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Friday December 3rd

Gov. Perdue says budget cuts may be smaller than expected

BOG to discuss safety, growth

The day before the UNC-system Board of Governors’ monthly meeting and expected discussion on budget cuts, Gov. Bev Perdue announced good news for the state — especially for the UNC system.

Perdue said in a YouTube video Wednesday that the state’s expected budget shortfall could be $1 billion less than the predicted $3.7 billion, which means cuts to state institutions — including the University system — might not be as severe as expected.

But the board will continue its discussion regarding the budget today among other issues ranging from tuition to campus safety.

Here are some of the big items on the agenda:

*?The board will continue to plan for the upcoming cuts in state funding.

The system has been preparing for up to 15 percent cuts. Furloughs, layoffs and early retirement incentives for tenured faculty are all on the table.

Thousands of course sections system-wide and entire degree programs and departments could also be slashed.

The UNC system has lost $575 million in state funding in the last three years. The majority of those cuts were on the administrative side, so this year universities are being forced to take on the academic side.

  • The board is also working toward changing the way it funds enrollment growth for universities. Former President Erskine Bowles recommended linking enrollment funding to graduation and retention rates.

Through this recommendation, the system plans to ask the N.C. General Assembly for $45.8 million for 2011-12.

UNC-Pembroke will not be allowed to increase the size of its freshman class, and UNC-Greensboro and Western Carolina University will face restricted growth.

*?Tuition proposals for all 16 campuses will be voted on to send to the N.C. General Assembly for final approval.

The proposed increase for undergraduate residents at UNC-CH is $313.

*?The system will also begin to prepare for a decrease in federal Pell Grants for the 2011-12 fiscal year because it would put a greater burden on the state’s resources for need-based aid.

  • The board is also recommending that the budget for UNC-CH be reduced by $158,225 for the current fiscal year because the University exceeded the number of out-of-state freshman it is allowed to enroll.

The system requires universities to cap out-of-state enrollment for freshman classes at 18 percent.

The fall 2010 enrollment report showed that UNC-CH went beyond the cap for the second consecutive year.

  • Universities have been coordinating with local police departments for the past two years to extend their law enforcement jurisdiction.

The board will be discussing that initiative and others related to campus safety.

  • Members of the budget and finance committee will review the results of two studies that looked at the rising cost of textbooks and the impact of programs, such as rental and guaranteed buyback, that have reduced the financial burden on students.

Contact the State & National Editor at state@dailytarheel.com.

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