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The Daily Tar Heel

The Board of Trustees' Finance, Infrastructure and Audit Committee approved a proposal to raise out-of-state undergraduate tuition by two percent next year. This was one of several increases in tuition, dining and housing fees approved at the committee's meeting Wednesday.

The meeting primarily focused on the tuition and fee proposal, which was presented by Nathan Knuffman, vice chancellor for finance and operations.

Nonresident undergraduate tuition increase

  • The two percent increase would bring the out-of-state tuition up from $34,882 to $35,580 for the 2022–2023 academic year, a $698 difference.
  • Committee Chairperson John Preyer said the current out-of-state tuition rate is below market value, which the committee members referred to as the 50th percentile for out-of-state tuition prices across comparable public institutions. The market value for the 2021–2022 academic year, according to a median of data presented at the meeting, was $40,480.
    • "My concern with the fee for the nonresident tuition is that it is so below what would be market that we are in fact doing the University a disservice to not look at what is the responsible increase there," Preyer said.
  • Committee Vice Chairperson Marty Kotis III advocated for a greater increase in out-of-state tuition to bring the cost up to market value.
    • "We have a constitutional duty to educate the people of this state, to provide to the best of our ability to the people of this state as free as practical, but in order to do that we need to charge markets rates to out-of-state students," Kotis said. "I just don't understand why we don't charge at least 50th percentile and be in the middle of the pack for out-of-state tuition. I think we're doing the University a disservice and violating the constitutional requirement."
    • The UNC-System guidance is for out-of-state tuition to be at market value, and current out-of-state tuition at UNC is well below market price, Knuffman said. He also said that due to the pandemic, the tuition for nonresident students did not increase last year. The year before, it increased by three percent.
  • Knuffman said the tuition changes were an attempt to balance "keeping fees low but also providing enough revenue to allow quality of service."
  • Student tuition and fees constituted 12 percent of the 2020 budget but is a large portion of the money that funds teaching, he said. 
  • The increase will affect incoming first-year and current students starting in fall 2022. 

Meal plan, on-campus housing, other increases

  • The cost of meal plans is set to increase by 4.7 percent next academic year.
  • The original plan proposed to the committee was a three percent increase, but it was adjusted during the meeting to match the 4.7 percent increase in the Consumer Price Index for food and other goods.
    • Committee members were concerned about the gap between the cost of food and the revenue from the proposed dining plan.
    • “If you do a three percent increase, just understand that when they go in, the food may be different, there may not be as many people in there to help," Kotis said. "You’d expect a substantial reduction in quality and labor available. You kind of get what you pay for.”
  • The expedition of the approval of the dining plan increase was in part due to a timing restriction, as financial aid offers for early acceptance students will come out in January.
  • On-campus housing prices would also increase for residence halls, Rams Village Apartments, student family housing and graduate housing, as well as for resident advisers.
    • Rates would increase by two percent for residence halls and Rams Village Apartments, and two to 2.3 percent for student family housing and graduate student housing.

What’s next?

  • The Board of Governors will meet from January to March to discuss the proposed changes and vote on the new rates.
  • The next BOT meeting dates are Jan. 26 and Jan. 27.


CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article misstated Nathan Knuffman title. He is the vice chancellor for finance and operations at UNC. The article also incorrectly stated who would be affected by the nonresident undergraduate tuition increase. The increase will affect incoming first-year and current students. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for this error. 

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