Education

UNC governors approve tuition increases

Activity picks up around the Student Union building as students come back for fall classes at Wake Tech in Raleigh on August 18, 2014.  The State Board of Education is considering a change to its dropout policy that would allow students who leave high school without graduating to not be counted as dropouts if they complete an adult diploma program at a community college.
Activity picks up around the Student Union building as students come back for fall classes at Wake Tech in Raleigh on August 18, 2014. The State Board of Education is considering a change to its dropout policy that would allow students who leave high school without graduating to not be counted as dropouts if they complete an adult diploma program at a community college. cseward@newsobserver.com

The UNC Board of Governors approved tuition and fee increases Friday that will average 4.3 percent for in-state undergraduates across the university system’s campuses.

That brings the average cost to $6,448.88 per year for North Carolina residents.

The average tuition and fee increase for out-of-state students will be 2.9 percent – bringing the cost to an average of $20,397.72.

The following year, tuition and fee increases would be 3.7 percent for in-state students and 2.7 percent for out-of-state students.

The bulk of the money the increases bring in will go to faculty salaries.

The tuition increase vote was 18-9, an unusual split for the group.

Budget and finance committee chairman Harry Smith said he wasn’t happy with the size of increase requests from several campuses, but ended up supporting them because he trusts the leaders in place at the universities.

Members who voted against the increase proposals cited the steadily rising costs of attending universities. Board member Roger Aiken called the rate of tuition and fee increases “unsustainable.”

Board member Champ Mitchell also called the steady increases a threat to the system. “The greatest risk to this university is when we separate ourselves from the people,” he said.

The vote came as the 32-member board met in Charlotte for the first time since 1972, on the campus of UNC Charlotte.

The increases include a new $30 campus security fee that met with some hesitation but was vigorously advocated for by system President Tom Ross and chancellors.

That fee met with some disagreement by board members who thought security should not be funded by a separate fee.

“I think this is a basic service we should be providing to our students,” board member Marty Kotis said. For example, he said, campuses don’t charge students an air-conditioning fee.

The money will be used to hire investigators and support pay for campus police officers, among other things.

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