The UNC-system Board of Governors should approve President Thomas Ross’ tuition plan at its meetings today and Friday.
Though this year’s tuition decision-making process has been far from ideal, Ross’ plan is the best (and perhaps only) option on the table right now, and the BOG should pass it.
After these hikes, however, the BOG must undertake a serious review of its responses to budget cuts and come up with a better solution than simply raising tuition in proportion to the amount the legislature cuts the budget.
Under Ross’ plan, in-state students would face a 9.9 percent increase in tuition and fees, and out-of-state students would face a 6 percent hike.
Right now, this is the only reasonable way to offset the effects of last year’s $414 million budget cut and preserve educational quality at UNC.
But an across-the-board tuition increase is just about the least innovative, narrowest solution conceivable. Our university can do better.
The BOG needs to ask tough questions about how best to survive and thrive in this economy, and it needs to be prepared to act on the answers, regardless of how unpalatable they may be.
Incremental hikes cannot be used, year after year, to stave off the effects of budget cuts. When it comes to tuition, students deserve predictability.
The economic and political landscape of the state of North Carolina has undergone a fundamental change in recent years, and the UNC system needs to undertake an equally broad assessment of the ways it will cope with an anti-education legislature.
This may sound obvious, but if education isn’t really a priority for the organization tasked with allocating education funding, the schools are going to have to pick up the slack.
But students shouldn’t have to bear the brunt of funding cuts. We’ve endured progressively higher tuition and lesser quality for too long.
UNC cannot keep living hand-to-mouth, responding to each successive blow from the state legislature with equally unpredictable hikes to tuition.
The University’s leaders should be considering the complex yet basic question of whether the current model is working. To us, it seems clear that it is broken.
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