The definition of in-state students might be broadening next year, inviting military students and some in neighboring states to pay lower rates in the UNC system — blurring the bounds of tuition categories amid swelling out-of-state tuition rates.
In June, the UNC-system Board of Governors discussed options for new policy on nonresident enrollment, including lowering out-of-state tuition for students living within 25 miles of near-border campuses, including UNC-Asheville, UNC-Charlotte and Appalachian State University.
The board voted last Friday to ask for a repeal of high out-of-state tuition hikes in May.
Robert Nunnery, president of the UNC-system Association of Student Governments, said some states bordering North Carolina, such as Tennessee, offer in-state tuition to North Carolinians near the border. He said discussion around this topic is a legislative priority for ASG.
And for universities like N.C. A&T University, which had the lowest in-state enrollment at 63 percent of the student body in 2012, recruiting students, including those from out-of-state, is crucial to keeping in-state tuition low.
Hannah Gage, emeritus member of the Board of Governors, said many campuses have seen declining enrollment due to incremental increases in GPA and SAT requirements — but members remain skeptical of attracting out-of-state students.
“I think the general feeling is that we are a North Carolina university paid for by North Carolina taxpayers, and North Carolinians should be our top priority,” Gage said.
Gage said N.C. A&T started a pilot program last month, when the board gave the university permission to raise its out-of-state enrollment cap from 18 to 25 percent. The program will serve as a guide for discussions next year.
Extra revenue from out-of-state students will go to need-based aid for in-state students, Nunnery said.