Attending Kenan-Flagler Business School might soon cost (even more) money. Recently, the UNC Board of Trustees unanimously approved a 20 percent increase in the Program Enhancement Fee for both majors and minors in the undergraduate business program.
The PEF is a surcharge on top of tuition for undergraduate students enrolled in the school.
This change would raise the fee from the current $1,000 to $1,200 per semester for majors, and $500 to $600 per semester for minors. The fee increase has not been fully approved, as it still needs to pass the Board of Governors come 2023.
Since its implementation in 2018, the fee has gone toward growing student-facing staff and student support, including additional scholarships, study abroad programs and advising, according to Michael Penny, associate director of student engagement at Kenan-Flagler.
More than just a revenue stream
Our initial knee-jerk reaction was to oppose this cost increase. We assumed that, as much money as the University takes from students, it’s not in a position to impose an additional financial burden. If anything, it is the responsibility of public universities like UNC to make education more affordable and accessible – not less.
But the fee increase might produce more positive outcomes than anticipated, even down to helping diversify the student body. While the cost increase will put some students in difficult financial positions and possibly deter concerned applicants, it could also open up the opportunity for more low-income candidates to attend the school.
Yes, a 20 percent increase on an already hefty price tag is not an easy burden to bear. Even so, only those better situated to pay a higher fee – those who already pay full tuition – will need to pay it.
Any student who qualifies for financial aid at UNC, including those who be impacted by the fee increase, would have their fee waived. So, coupled with Kenan-Flagler’s plan to expand its undergraduate business program, this could potentially mean greater accessibility for lower-income students to pursue business.