UNC-system employees have gone four years without pay increases, but that will soon change.
Salary increases and a partial restoration of financial aid funding was discussed by the UNC-system Board of Governors at a committee meeting Tuesday.
The committee voted unanimously to implement these — and other budget measures recently approved by the N.C. General Assembly — for the 2012-13 academic year.
Joni Worthington, spokeswoman for the UNC system, said the committee’s vote has the same effect as if the full board passed it, and the board does not need to vote on the measures.
Charles Perusse, the UNC-system vice president for finance, said thousands of students would benefit from increased financial aid that has been provided by the revised budget, which includes a net increase of $19.6 million in-state appropriations to the system.
Last week, the N.C. General Assembly voted to revise its biennial budget — which was approved for fiscal years 2011-13 in June 2011.
The budget revisions were vetoed by Gov. Bev Perdue on June 29. But legislators voted to override her veto July 2.
In her veto message, Perdue criticized the budget for not adequately reversing education cuts imposed last year.
Despite being less than the $216 million requested by the Board of Governors, UNC-system President Thomas Ross praised the updated budget for offsetting some of the deep cuts the system has faced in recent years.
“We came out of the session, particularly the budget process with a budget that, given the restraint, was fair to the university,” he said.
Under the updated budget, the state will provide more than $30 million to support a 1.2 percent salary increase for all university employees. The budget revisions give an additional $3 million to recruiting and retraining faculty.
This marks the first salary increase since fiscal year 2008-09.
“After going four years without an increase, people appreciate that they were provided one,” Perusse said.
The new budget also increases financial aid funding by $25.2 million using state lottery funds.
Ross said this would help offset the $35 million in need-based financial aid cuts imposed last year for students system-wide.
Perusse said budget cuts to financial aid programs resulted in 9,000 fewer students receiving financial aid in the 2011-12 academic year than in the previous year.
“We’re hoping to get back a lot of those students, and to give a little more to students with existing aid,” he said.
The updated budget did not provide for the board’s performance-based funding model, which would allocate money to schools based on their ability to meet targets for several measures, including retention, six-year graduation rates and degree efficiency.
But Perusse said the board will still implement the model for the 2012-13 academic year to test the feasibility of the target measures.
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