As administrators push for what could become the largest tuition increase in the University’s history, Student Body President Mary Cooper is planning a campaign to convince students that hikes are necessary.
Administrators presented a case last week arguing the need for a tuition increase of nearly 40 percent, or $2,800, over the next two to four years.
Despite almost certain opposition from students, Cooper said she plans to stand behind the proposition.
“What Mary and I struggle with is that the initial student response from any student is, ‘Well, I don’t want to pay more tuition,’” Student Body Vice President Zealan Hoover said.
Hoover and Cooper are crafting a 15-minute pitch, focusing on the effects of budget cuts, to present to different student groups.
“When they see the numbers and what the consequences would be of not raising tuition, every student agrees that tuition needs to go up,” Hoover said.
Two weeks ago, UNC-system administrators received a memorandum from the system’s Vice President for Finance Charles Perusse, stating that campuses may submit justified proposals for raising tuition exceeding the 6.5 percent cap, which was established by the Board of Governors in 2006.
Hoover said student government and UNC officials want to increase tuition to a level where it would still be less expensive than 75 percent of its peer institutions.
“That is the level the general administration, the legislature and, generally speaking, most observers of the UNC system feel is in keeping with the constitutional requirement of free as practicable,” Hoover said.
Cooper said student government will post tuition information on its website and work with campus administrators and legislative liaisons to encourage campus discussions about tuition.
“While it’s unusual, I think we are in unusual circumstances,” Cooper said. “We are losing credit hours at an unprecedented rate, and our faculty has yet to see a pay raise in the past four years.”
During the 2009-10 academic year, then-Student Body President Jasmin Jones held a forum with students and the University’s top administrators to serve as a communication outlet between the two regarding tuition increases.
Cooper said she will meet with as many members of student government as possible in a focus group this week to plan a road map for communicating with the campus community.
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