Tuition to rise about 2 percent for new UNC system students

Newly enrolled North Carolina students at the state’s public universities will pay about 2 percent more in 2017-18, but their tuition rate won’t change if they finish in four consecutive years.

On Friday, the UNC Board of Governors approved tuition and fee rates at the state’s public universities under a guaranteed tuition plan enacted by the legislature last year.

Under the new arrangement, each new incoming class is likely to have a different tuition rate; students must remain continuously enrolled for four years to benefit from the stable tuition rate. Fee increases are now capped at 3 percent.

Returning North Carolina resident students will have no increase in tuition next year, but they will see fee increases.

UNC President Margaret Spellings called the new guarantee “a major step forward to advance predictability and confidence for our students and families.”

The tuition and fee increase for in-state students is 3.8 percent at N.C. Central University and 1.9 percent at both N.C. State University and UNC-Chapel Hill. The higher increase at NCCU is due to a fee to support a new student center, and was approved before the fee increase cap went into effect.

The tuition and fee price for most in-state students in 2017-18 will be $6,283 at NCCU, $8,865 at NCSU and $8,782 at UNC-Chapel Hill. The price for out-of-state students will be $18,990 at NCCU, $27,213 at NCSU and $34,365 at UNC-CH.

N.C. State will raise its out-of-state tuition rate by nearly $1,000, and engineering students at NCSU will now have an extra $1,500 annual special fee – a $500 increase.

NCSU Randy Woodson told board members Thursday that the bigger bump for out-of-state students was a response to the board requests over time.

“You’ve looked at our out-of-state tuition in comparison to our peers, and you’ve seen that it’s below many of our peers,” Woodson said, “and we’ve been trying to inch that up and get out of market elasticity. It wouldn’t do us any good to increase our tuition so much so that we reduced out-of-state students and then in the end, actually collected less revenue.”

Jeremiah Bradshaw of China Grove, a student at Appalachian State University, said the guaranteed tuition program won’t affect him. He will graduate after five years of study because he added a minor in graphic arts. But he thinks the proposal will be helpful for many students in the future.

“I think it’s going to benefit the majority of students who can graduate in four,” said Bradshaw.

Jane Stancill: 919-829-4559, @janestancill