The UNC-system Board of Governors approved increases in tuition and fees for certain undergraduates at various system campuses on Friday, including a $2,000 annual fee increase for UNC-Chapel Hill’s undergraduate business majors.
The increase for certain UNC-CH students, coupled with a $1,000 annual increase for business minors, and other school’s increases, come after the UNC-system schools submitted proposals for tuition and fee increases – except in the case of UNC-CH and Winston-Salem State University, which both proposed fee decreases – for next school year.
Kenan-Flagler Business School students seeing an increase in their tuition is not a plan that is unheard of in North Carolina. The College of Engineering program at N.C. State University is another example of a university program increasing fees on students.
Starting in 2015, the UNC Board of Governors approved the COE Program Enhancement Fee, which NCSU said in the COE Frequently Asked Questions page ensures the University keeps pace with peers in terms of resources.
The COE enhancement fee stood at $1,000 for the 2016-17 academic year. NCSU proposed an increase of $500 for the fee, leaving the total for the 2017-18 academic year at $1500. The Board of Governors also approved this increase.
NCSU also proposed a 1.3 percent fee increase, coming to $31 – $15 dollars for the health services fee and $16 dollars for the student activities fund – which the Board of Governors approved.
N.C. Central University proposed a 2.5 percent fee increase, coming to $65, from an increase in their athletics fee and their health services fee.
Fee increases will affect all undergraduate students during the next academic year, including in-state and out-of-state students and all incoming first-years at the two universities.
UNC-CH proposed and approved a 1.4 percent decrease in the mandatory fees for the next academic year.
Aside from fees and the business school-specific increases, undergraduate tuition will not increase for students, which are guaranteed their same standard tuition rate for all four years of their undergraduate careers, the UNC-CH cashier’s office said.
Along with the mandatory fees decreasing or increasing depending on the university, three schools saw significant decreases in tuition for all undergraduates. Due to the initiation of the NC Promise Tuition Plan, the state is reducing tuition for Elizabeth City State University, UNC-Pembroke and Western Carolina University from their respective current tuition amounts to $1,000 each.
The motivation behind the program is to increase educational access, reduce student debt and grow the state’s economy, the NC Promise site says.
Louis Bissette, chairperson of the UNC-system Board of Governors, said the board sent out a list of instructions detailing the parameters for the proposals to all of the UNC schools during their annual budget approval process.
He said some of the parameters stated universities could not raise tuition on in-state undergraduate students, fee raises combined had to remain in the bottom quartile of their public peers and all fee increase proposals had to be capped at 3 percent. The board also required expenditure reports from each university to accompany proposals on why others forms of funding were insufficient.
Bissette said in 2014-15, the UNC system had a 0 percent tuition increase. In 2015-16, it had an average 3.8 percent increase. In 2016-17, it had a 3.6 percent increase. For the 2017-18 year, it had a 2 percent increase.
He said for the next academic year, the UNC system will see an average decrease of 10.7 percent in tuition, due to the NC Promise initiative.
Bissette said the Board of Governors felt the UNC-CH specific increase for Kenan-Flagler students would allow for a larger amount of students to be admitted and receive the resources of the high-cost program now that increases will go into place.
He also said due to the higher rewards business school graduates earn, the increased tuition on students will be compensated by their higher earnings upon leaving the University, which he estimated to be 50 percent higher than the average college graduate's salaries.
He also confirmed UNC-system President Margaret Spellings received a $95,000 bonus, $50,000 of which was paid directly to her and $45,000 of which will go into a retirement account, after the Board of Governors felt she had achieved her goals after analyzing her performance.
“To me, Margaret Spellings does her job,” he said. “The board felt last week that she had done an excellent job on her goals this year and was entitled to that increase.”
Bissette said the board was proud of its efforts to manage tuition and fees, especially in the years after the 2008-10 recession.
“We feel pretty good about the trend in what we’re trying to do and that is reduce the cost, particularly for resident North Carolina students, in both tuition and fees."
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