It's a fact that the need-based financial aid program is expensive to maintain — and in this budget climate, administrators feel pushed to make tough calls. But policymakers also say it's hard to dole out cuts to one of the few remaining programs that makes Carolina and her 15 sister schools in the UNC-system so affordable.
The UNC Board of Governor's Committee on Budget and Finance will meet Thursday to vote on a contentious proposal — to institute a 15 percent cap on the amount of tuition a UNC-system school can use for need-based financial aid.
At about 21 percent, UNC Chapel Hill uses the largest percentage of its revenue for need-based aid out of the 16 schools in the UNC system. UNC Chapel Hill is one of two public universities that meets 100 percent of demonstrated need, meaning any student whose family income falls at or below 200 percent of federal poverty guidelines — about $44,700 for a family of four — won't have to take out loans.
- The six UNC-system schools which use more than 15 percent of tuition revenue towards need-based aid include UNC Chapel Hill, N.C. State University, Elizabeth City State University, Fayetteville State University, Winston-Salem State University and N.C. Central University.
- The average indebtedness of a UNC-system graduating resident senior with loans is $22,229, according to the board's Working Group on Financial Aid and Tuition.
- About 74 percent of need based aid comes in the form of a grant or scholarship, according to the Committee on Scholarships, Awards and Student Aid.
Chancellor Carol Folt said her administration was determined to keep UNC-CH affordable.
"Keeping our costs low is also critical and we've been really good at that as well," Folt said at last week's Board of Trustees meeting. "So this is not something we're going to stand back from."