The Daily Tar Heel
Printing news. Raising hell. Since 1893.
Thursday, June 20, 2024 Newsletters Latest print issue

We keep you informed.

Help us keep going. Donate Today.
The Daily Tar Heel

Former UNC Board of Governors members sign petition opposing tuition hikes

At least 20 former members of the UNC-system Board of Governors have signed a petition urging current board members against approving tuition hikes.

The petition was overnighted Monday to board Chairwoman Hannah Gage three days before the board will convene and hear tuition-increase proposals from each UNC-system campus.

Bill Johnson, chairman of the board in the late 1970s, spearheaded the petition. He said the idea occurred to him after learning about the extent of the increases many universities were requesting.

“I became distressed because I thought tuition was already as much as a lot of kids and their parents could stand,” he said. “If we don’t slow down the process we’re going to make it more and more difficult for a lot of students to obtain an education.”

Despite vocal student protest, the UNC Board of Trustees approved a 40 percent tuition increase spanning five years for in-state students in November. Other UNC-system schools are also proposing hefty tuition increases to the board, which is expected to make its final decision in February.

In his petition, Johnson stated that he is convinced “implementation of the proposed tuition increases would do great harm … to our state.”

He urged the board to reject the pending proposals and explore other ways to reduce operating costs. He also recommended implementing, at schools where they do not already exist, programs to assist low-income students.

Board member Brent Barringer, who had not read the petition, said the opinion of Johnson and his fellow petitioners will resonate with the board.

“If it were only coming from 2 or 3 members, it would certainly deserve respect,” he said. “If it’s really signed by 15, 20, 25 former members, then that is certainly significant to consider.”

Barringer said his stance on in-state tuition increases is that it’s only a piece of the puzzle.

“The out-of-state increase and how the money gets spent are at least equally important if not more so.”

Contact the State & National

Editor at

To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.