“Current juniors and seniors had no way of predicting an increase beyond the 6.5 percent cap,” Cooper said, referring to the cap on tuition hikes renewed by the Board of Governors last year. “By remaining predictable, we will continue to be attractive to top students.”
Last month, Carney presented a plan that would raise tuition by $2,800, or 40 percent, during the next two to four years.
Although final details of Carney’s plan were unclear as of Sunday night, Student Body Vice President Zealan Hoover said that it would propose a 6.5 percent increase for all students coupled with a $2,800 supplemental hike spread over five years.
Cooper said her plan will allow the University to reclaim the academic quality emphasized by administrators — which includes restoring credit hours and raising faculty salaries — while also maintaining its commitment to affordability.
The task force will consider both plans before presenting its final proposal, which will be voted on by the Board of Trustees on Thursday. Each of the UNC-system schools’ tuition proposals will then be considered by the Board of Governors in February.
Cooper said she expects the proposal will be seriously considered.
“I have high expectations,” she said. “I think it will be heavily considered and contemplated.”
Cooper has in the past been sympathetic to the idea of tuition hikes above 6.5 percent, but recently sought out student opinion through a series of forums last week.
“The comments we have received have varied from adamantly against any level of increase to students that want to open their pocketbooks for any increase that would help the University,” Hoover said.
Cooper said her plan would accomplish goals named by administrators, but over a longer term than Carney’s plan.
Projections under Cooper’s plan, which assumes 45 percent of tuition revenue would be devoted to financial aid, show faculty salaries increasing by 7 percent above current levels in 2014.
Taylor Kolasinski, president of the Out-of-State Student Association, said in an email that Cooper’s proposal could have a negative impact on UNC’s ability to attract high-quality students from outside the state but said he favored an increase for incoming students.
“A tuition increase for incoming students will allow those students and their families to prepare for a higher cost of education,” he said.
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