“I think it’s a sacred commitment to be responsible about tuition,” Provost Jim Dean said. “But on the other hand, you do have to run the University.”
The task force suggests tuition and fee changes to the chancellor and the Board of Trustees for approval and later to the Board of Governors.
The task force proposed a tuition increase of $225 for both in-state and out-of-state undergraduates in the 2015-16 academic year. That amounts to a 3.5 percent increase for in-state students and a 0.71 percent increase for out-of-state students.
The task force proposed another increase of $233 for undergraduates in the 2016-17 year.
In-state and out-of-state graduate tuition would also increase by $450 and $500, respectively, during the two years. That would mean a 5.18 percent increase for in-state graduate students and a 1.74 percent increase for out-of-state graduate students in 2015-16.
The task force was wary about further tuition increases for undergraduate non-residents because in the 2014-15 academic year, the tuition for those students rose by $3,300.
“I think that was a very significant increase,” Dean said. “It certainly must have been one of the most significant increases in tuition for quite some time, if not ever.”
After considering the idea of only increasing undergraduate non-resident tuition for the 2016-17 academic year, the task force decided to split the increase over two years.
“I think, in general, if people look at these charts and see what looked to be increases for residents and not non-residents, then people would worry about that,” Dean said. “We are part of a larger system with other decision makers, and we’re trying to make sure we pay the appropriate respect to their point of view.”
Despite the increases, UNC’s tuition remains below the average cost of its public peer universities. But Steve Farmer, vice provost for enrollment and undergraduate admissions, stressed that tuition should reflect the University’s market and not its peers.
“I think we are at our market now, and we are at our market price,” he said. “The higher non-resident tuition goes, the less likely we are to attract people.”
The task force’s plan would generate an additional revenue of about $8.2 million for the 2015-16 academic year and about $8.8 million for the following year. According to a presentation given at the meeting, the revenue cannot be used toward financial aid but can be used to pay deficits, support pay raises for faculty and staff and help with faculty retention.
The task force estimated that a 1 percent pay raise for all faculty and staff would cost more than $3.3 million.
“Students understand that we get the bang for our buck at Carolina,” Brittany Best, student body treasurer, said.
“We also understand that if our favorite professor leaves, we don’t like that. So if there’s a way that we can keep professors here, I think students will be willing to pay.”