The Daily Tar Heel
Printing news. Raising hell. Since 1893.
Thursday, April 25, 2024 Newsletters Latest print issue

We keep you informed.

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

But before board members go on a break until June, they will face one more student protest.

The N.C. Student Power Union and students from across the system will protest outside of the board’s meeting to advocate for a debt-free education.

Protesters are asking the board to make a commitment toward a debt-free system — by 2020, they want no incoming student to graduate with debt.

The board had discussed need-based financial aid and growing student debt on Thursday, before meeting in committees for the rest of the day.

Need-based financial aid

The policy discussion on need-based financial aid was supposed to be focused on facts and not emotion, board chairman Peter Hans told members.

But board members and system chancellors couldn’t help but let a little passion creep into their discussion.

“At Carolina, more than 40 percent of ... students wouldn’t be sitting there at graduation if we weren’t able to provide them need-based aid,” UNC-CH Chancelor Carol Folt told the board.

For UNC-CH undergraduate in-state students who receive need-based aid, the median parental income is $59,630 — the majority are middle class families, Folt said.

Without need-based aid, UNC-CH would not be as accessible, she said.

“You’d see a reduction in every aspect of our competitiveness,” Folt said. “It wouldn’t simply be in SAT scores or valedictorians, it would be big changes in (the amount of) first-generation college students or minorities.”

But board members voiced concern at the thought of tuition revenues going toward need-based financial aid and middle class families subsidizing the education of other students.

“We have to find a way to give (need-based financial aid) ... but not on the backs of working middle class (families) who are being crushed in this economy,” board member Champ Mitchell said.

But UNC-system Association of Student Governments President Robert Nunnery, who is a non-voting board member, said having students who receive need-based aid in the classroom enriches his education.

“As a student, my education isn’t just me and a teacher,” he said. “It’s me, my fellow students and a teacher.”

Mitchell said he hopes a group of board members will be charged with finding alternative sources of funding for need-based aid. He said he expects the issue to be brought up again in the fall.

Budget and finance committee

When the budget and finance committee met Thursday, members voted to approve 10 recommendations to improve athletic financial transparency.

UNC-system President Tom Ross had tasked a working group of chancellors, General Administration staff and athletic directors, among others, last fall to review existing policies and practices relating to the financial oversight of college athletics.

The group’s chairman, UNC-Charlotte Chancellor Philip Dubois, said chancellors, Board of Trustees, Ross and the board should each annually review institutions’ financial reports pertaining to their athletic programs.

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

He said the three most telling indicators for Division I athletics are total athletic expenditures divided by the total number of student-athletes, athletics expenditures as a percentage of total institutional expenditures and athletic expense rate of change versus university expense rate of change.

The review process will include athletically-related student fees as a share of the total operating revenue for athletics.

Dubois said smaller institutions generally have higher fees than larger schools because they do not benefit from conference revenue.

The committee also approved the addition of a statement that further breaks down students’ tuition and fees utilization by universities that will be added to students’ bills.

Michael Vollmer, the system’s assistant vice president for finance, said the statement will include a pie chart that displays how much of a student’s tuition and fees are delegated to specific areas — but several board members expressed concern about accuracy.

The committee voted to approve the format and decided to continue working to ensure its accuracy. The full board will vote on these matters today.