Chancellor Guskiewicz presented UNC’s effort to provide free tuition and required fees for undergraduates from North Carolina whose families make under $80,000 per year, starting with the 2024 incoming class, at the UNC Board of Governors meeting on Wednesday.
This plan, which also includes new outreach officers on the undergraduate admissions team who will aim to reach students in under-resourced communities, was announced in a message to the UNC community in early July.
The Chancellor’s message followed the Supreme Court’s decision that using affirmative action in college admissions is unconstitutional, a case that involved both UNC and Harvard University.
According to Chapter 116 of the N.C. General Statute, decisions regarding tuition should be uniform across all UNC System schools and is to be decided by the BOG.
Members of the BOG and UNC Board of Trustees were not made aware of the administration’s decision prior to the message’s release to campus.
“Our communication on the rollout could have and should have been better and for that I’m sorry,” Guskiewicz said at the meeting. “But I’m sure that you agree that this aligns with our collective priority of improving the affordability of a great education to more people of N.C. And for that, we should all be proud.”
The Chancellor also clarified that the University is not waiving tuition and does not have the authority to do so.
The funds, which are estimated to support between 150 and 200 students per year, are being provided by private donors rather than the state.
“We hope this message will help remove doubt and uncertainty about whether Carolina is affordable for those students who want to be at Carolina and who earn their path to Carolina,” Guskiewicz said.