The Daily Tar Heel

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Friday August 12th

Year in Review: Business school fee proposal

In September, the Kenan-Flagler Business School proposed a plan that would raise the cost of attendance for undergraduate business students by charging a new fee of, eventually, $3,000 per year for business majors.

Business school leaders said the fee was designed to increase accessibility and diversity and keep the highly ranked program competitive within its peer group.

The proposal would have required a $1,000 fee each semester of the 2017-2018 school year for majors and a $500 fee each semester for minors. These fees would have increased until the 2019-2020 school year, when majors would pay a fee of $1,500 each semester and minors would pay $750.

In September, David Vogel, director of career development and employee relations for the Undergraduate Business Program, said the fees are necessary.

“We looked at other ways that may not be as costly to increase the capacity, and candidly we realize that students don’t want to attend classes at six in the morning or eleven at night,” he said. “We actually did look at a whole array of options, and we felt that the blended online was probably the best balance.”

On Sept. 21, business school representatives presented their proposal to the Student Fee Audit Committee. The committee did not recommend passing a new student fee.

Joe Nail, chief of staff for student government, said in September he was worried about the lack of student feedback in the business school’s proposal.

Of the nine students surveyed in the proposal, Doug Shackelford, dean of the Kenan-Flagler Business School, said eight supported the fee. Nail said 70 percent of the 223 students he spoke with were opposed to the increase.

After the SFAC's decision, the Student Fee Advisory Subcommittee recommended against the plan and sent the fee back to the business school with feedback, allowing them to present a revised plan.

Brad Ives, associate vice chancellor for campus enterprises, said in October the committee wanted to ensure the fee is not higher than necessary for students.

“I think in this committee we have a duty to put pressure back on people to justify why are you implementing the fees, what’s the minimum fee you can raise to keep Carolina affordable for people and still meet the objective,” Ives said.

On Oct. 25, members of SFAC reviewed the revised proposal and voted against it 6-1. They gave their recommendation to SFAS, which also recommended against the fee.

On Nov. 2, the Tuition and Fee Advisory Task Force discussed SFAS’s recommendations for the business school fee. The task force did not recommend the fees due to a lack of consensus within the task force.

In November, Brian Smith, assistant vice chancellor for finance and accounting and a member of TFAT, said while SFAS supported the school’s plans for expansion, career placement and diversity, SFAS did not want to set a precedent for establishing a student fee in general support of an academic program and administration.

“The areas where SFAS did have concerns felt like, a little bit — that with this particular fee, a lot of it was supporting some administrative cost and using a student fee to support general programmatic or administrative cost,” he said.

During the Board of Trustees meeting in November, the Finance, Infrastructure and Audit Committee did not recommend the proposed fees for business school undergraduates Wednesday because the lower committees could not reach a consensus.

Haywood Cochrane, chairperson of the Board of Trustees finance committee, said in November the Kenan-Flagler Business School fee was not implemented, but they will continue to work on meeting the needs of the program.

“While the fee was not implemented, we recognize the absolute importance of the program and its need to basically allow more acceptances,” he said. “We admitted 47 percent of the applicants last year. So, the demand for this program is high. We will continue to work on satisfactory resolutions on how to fund that.”

The business school is still determining the next steps for the undergraduate business school fee proposal.

“From our perspective, it’s out of our hands,” Shackelford said in late November. “We’ve made our proposal and it’s gone to the chancellor and the provost and no decision has been made right now. The proposal hasn’t been approved or denied; it’s kind of in category three right now.”

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