The Daily Tar Heel

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Saturday April 1st

School of the Arts may raise tuition

Proposal exceeds cap on increases

Due to a reporting error, the story “School of the Arts may raise tuition” incorrectly spelled Matt Horvat’s name. This story has been changed to reflect these changes. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for the error.

In preparation for reduced state funding, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts is trying to break the rules to survive.

The public conservatory is petitioning to override the systemwide 6.5 percent cap on tuition increase in order to inflate tuition for in-state undergraduate students by 11.6 percent for the next school year.

The UNC-system Board of Governors recommends a maximum 6.5 percent cap increase to the General Assembly when deciding budget cuts and tuition increases.

The cap is included in the Second Four-Year Plan, which the board approved in November. The plan maintains the same tuition policies as former President Erskine Bowles’ original Four-Year Tuition Plan.

John Davis, a member of the board, said he was against any institution raising tuition above the cap and sending larger bills to students and families, but also said that it could be inevitable.

“Deeming by the budget cuts from the state, we might be forced to help make money by raising tuition later on,” Davis said.

UNCSA’s proposal raises in-state tuition by $500. Out-of-state tuition would be raised by $1,000 — or 6 percent.

The combined hikes would supply the school a net revenue of about $437,000.

As a public conservatory, UNCSA has few peers nationwide, and instead must compete largely with private institutions. The school is not able to provide the same sort of merit-based scholarships as these private institutions, said David English, the school’s associate academic officer.

Typically half of the UNCSA student body is out-of-state — compared to other UNC-system schools, where only 8 to 12 percent of the student body is out-of-state, he said.

UNCSA also needs expensive equipment for many classes, said Student Body President Alysha Perrin.

“When we get major cuts, we lose entire programs or schools,” Perrin said.

Nearby UNC-Greensboro will present a tuition increase proposal right at the 6.5 percent mark, said Alan Boyette, the university’s vice provost for academic affairs.

“I find it surprising given the 6.5 percent cap,” Boyette said about UNCSA’s proposal. “Given declining state support, I wouldn’t criticize any institution.”

Matt Horvat, a UNC alum and current UNCSA graduate student, said the school has been transparent about the possible tuition increase with e-mails and forums. He, English and Perrin said the students haven’t protested the higher cost.

“It’s just one of those costs we’ll just have to grin and bear,” Horvat said. “It’d be hard to find a similar school not having these kinds of problems.”

The school’s alternate plan has the same out-of-state, $1,000 tuition raise, but increases in-state tuition by 6.5 percent, yielding $55,395 less than the first proposal.

The board is expected to review tuition proposals submitted by UNC-system schools at its meeting Thursday and vote on the proposals Friday.

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