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Association of Student Governments focuses on tuition at last meeting of 2014

The UNC-system Association of Student Governments held their last meeting of 2014 on Saturday at UNC-Pembroke — focusing largely on tuition and fees discussions that have already begun on several campuses.

The delegates passed a formal recommendation to the Board of Governors that addressed the board's decision to change the tuition and fees process from annual to biennial. The bill was introduced by Alex Grindstaff, a delegate from N.C. State University.

“It limits flexibility, effectiveness and accuracy of enrollment projections, and it is hard for us to know what the needs of the university will be,” said ASG President Alex Parker.

He said the Association's General Assembly has heard from chancellors and vice chancellors as well as financial administration, and they have agreed the process should be changed. 

The Council of Student Body Presidents, which is part of ASG, also discussed various tuition and fees issues — especially student fees.

“We talked more specifically about public safety fees that have been proposed and different schools' athletic fees that some students institutions are struggling to come to terms with,” said Fields Pierce, a delegate from UNC-CH's executive branch.

Pierce said individual student governments plan to focus on teaching students about how the tuition and fees process works — especially why they are paying the rates they are — by hosting open forums that encourage participation in the debate.

During the meeting, two student advocacy trips for the spring were also planned for Raleigh and Washington, D.C.

Leigh Whittaker, senior vice president of ASG, said in an email that these advocacy trips are important forums for discussion about individual university, state and federal priorities in education — along with the priorities of the UNC system, including tuition. 

“It is rare for university students to be seen in the halls of legislative buildings, and having representatives from UNC-system schools across the state makes our voice and our presence stronger,” she said.

Though the midterm election occurred about three weeks ago, the delegates also passed an act affirming support for on-campus early voting sites throughout the UNC system. 

The resolution asked for support from the Board of Governors and campus administrations to make on-campus voting sites more available in the future.

"It reminds student governments they need to keep voting at the top of their minds — not just on Election Day," Parker said.

Pierce said Student Government initiatives at UNC-CH such as Tar Heel Vote helped get more students engaged in voting this year, but more can be done. 

“Any way ASG, UNC or any UNC-system school can make it easier to vote is a good thing ultimately."

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