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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC's student body president Mary Cooper says students are OK with 6.5 percent tuition hike

Photo: Mary Cooper seeks student input on tuition (Lauren Piemont)
Student Body President Mary Cooper discusses tuition at the Tuition Forum Presentation in Murphy 116 on Wednesday, November 9. The forum consisted of a presentation, group work, and students expressing their thoughts about tuition. The purpose of the forums is to make an effort to reach as many students as possible. She expressed the importance of student priority as well as the importance of a college education in this economy.

CORRECTION: The original version of this story neglected to state that the forum in which Student Body President Mary Cooper participated was sponsored by the Black Student Movement and several other student groups. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for any confusion.

A crowd of roughly 30 students attended one of the last tuition forums held by Student Body President Mary Cooper.

Cooper and students discussed which topics they believed to be UNC’s highest priorities when it comes to distribution of funds, including maintaining top-tier professors and small classes and restoring lost credit hours.

In response to frequently asked questions, Cooper emphasized that athletic funds are separate from academic funds, and that only 12.2 percent of the University’s endowment money is open for unrestricted use.

She took student questions and prompted attendees to offer ideas about how to approach tuition increase proposals.

Q: Are there numbers detailing what students feel like they can afford regarding tuition increases?

A: What most students said what they feel comfortable with was the 6.5 percent. What’s interesting is that those are the numbers I’ve presented, so I don’t really know how that influences the ideas, since there aren’t any proposals yet. So we’ll pull out the 6.5 percent increase, since that’s the maximum amount we can raise it to.

Q: You said the Board of Governors placed the cap at 6.5 percent. Is that the absolute maximum?

A: Yeah, that’s the maximum. It’s actually included in the policy that universities can go through the cap if it’s a justified increase. So, if they can say, “We need the additional revenue,” if the University chooses to do that, they might go ahead and add it on. But otherwise, the 6.5 percent cap stays on if it’s not justified.

Cooper said she appreciated the ideas that came through the forum.

“Every student thought or concern is important in this process,” she said.

Cooper said she has been pleased with the turnout at the tuition forums in general.

“I’m glad students are getting involved, and I’m glad to have their opinions,” she said.

Roughly 80 students attended three different forums Thursday, Student Body Secretary Adam Jutha said. The other forums were in Abernethy and Spencer halls.

The final tuition forum will be held Friday at noon in the Student Union Multipurpose Room.

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