The UNC Graduate School will not have a budget cut in the fiscal year 2021, Dean of the Graduate School Suzanne Barbour said at a meeting Tuesday.
The Administrative Board of the Graduate School met to discuss proposals for future cuts in 2022 at its first meeting of the semester. The board also highlighted updates and challenges to graduate education at UNC.
What did the board cover?
- Barbour noted that while the University is undergoing budget shortfalls now, the “Graduate School did not get a cut for fiscal year 2021."
- But Barbour reported that the Graduate School does have to account for a budget cut set for fiscal year 2022. “That cut unfortunately is going to affect the degree to which we can support graduate students with monies from the graduate school.”
- Barbour said the Graduate School is working to minimize that budget cut.
- Several board members expressed concern that UNC would no longer be able to guarantee tuition remission to graduate students with assistantships.
- Professor Melinda Beck noted the value of tuition remission in attracting out-of-state students to attend the Gillings School of Public Health. Tuition remission lowers the cost of tuition for out-of-state students close to in-state tuition levels.
- She said reductions in financial assistance would represent a major blow to graduate school recruitment.
- William Rivenbark, a professor in the School of Government, said that tuition remission presents an equity issue because assistance at the school disproportionately favors out-of-state graduate students.
- Changes to tuition waivers would present an opportunity to be fair to in-state students, he said.
- Sarah Jacobson, the assistant dean for admission and enrollment, said the University has already received 15,500 graduate school applications. This is a 17 percent increase in the number of applications compared to this time last year.
- There has been no discernible decrease in the number of international applicants, she said. India and China continue to be the primary contributors of applicants.
- Online master’s programs have witnessed the largest growth in terms of applications received.
What decisions are being made?
- Barbour announced that UNC will not conduct an in-person hooding ceremony for advanced degree graduates in May.
- Instead, the University will recognize doctoral recipients in a personalized virtual ceremony for spring commencement.
- The Graduate School hopes to mail commemorative items for all doctoral graduates.
What is next?
- A summary of the board’s commentary will be passed on to the offices of Provost Bob Blouin and Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz.
- The board is scheduled to meet next on Tuesday, April 20 at 12 p.m.