Jamie McGee said the thought of graduating from UNC early breaks her heart.
But as tuition hikes continue to rise for out-of-state students, that thought has become a reality for the UNC junior from Virginia.
McGee made the decision to graduate in May because paying out-of-state tuition has been a struggle for her family, which has two more children still to put through college.
“It breaks my heart that (my parents) have been so amazing to me and trying to put me through school where I really wanted to go and this is such a struggle for them,” she said.
The Board of Trustees unanimously approved on Thursday tuition increases for out-of-state undergraduate and graduate students of 6.1 percent and 6.8 percent respectively — equaling $1,630 each.
The increases passed quietly compared to last year’s. But in the aftermath of the hikes, out-of-state students expressed frustration, while Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Bruce Carney said he doesn’t expect the rise in cost to affect immediate out-of-state interest in the University.
Carney said he doesn’t expect a significant change in applications due to the amount of students whose families can afford out-of-state tuition — and financial aid for students whose families can’t.
He said he spoke Monday with Stephen Farmer, vice provost for enrollment and undergraduate admissions, about establishing a study to see the effects of higher out-of-state tuition on applications. He expects the study to be finished in a year.
And Carney said the hikes will improve quality.
“As we did this past year, the tuition was largely dedicated to course sections, smaller classes, course redesign,” he said. “Basically a lot of the things that the budget cuts have imposed on us over the last few years.”
But Carney said future rises in tuition might pose concerns.
“We’re getting up near the edge where we probably need to consider whether we’re going to do any more of this,” he said.
Out-of-State Student Association President Taylor Kolasinski said many of out-of-state students choose to attend UNC because of its quality and low cost, but if tuition continues to rise, top students might choose to attend more prestigious schools.
“Once that line is blurred between the cost of Carolina’s tuition and that of say, Georgetown … you might see students start opting to go to those rather than this just because there’s no difference in tuition,” he said.
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