NCCU trustees target enrollment, renovations, tuition

Nov. 20, 2013 @ 11:32 AM

The N.C. Central University Board of Trustees on Tuesday discussed potential statewide increases to public university tuition and fees, NCCU School of Law rates and a new campus enrollment fee, as well as a planned jump in student meal plan prices.

Board members highlighted the proposed tuition and fee increase for undergraduate nonresidents. The N.C. General Assembly is proposing a 6-percent tuition increase for NCCU, so the price tag for nonresidents would jump by $842, according to a presentation by Claudia Odom-Hager, NCCU associate vice chancellor for finance and process improvement.

Also, due to a sales tax revision by the N.C. General Assembly, a 7.5-percent sales tax will be applied to all food and prepared meals served in dining rooms on college campuses starting Jan. 1. NCCU’s campus meal plans will see increases ranging from $9 to $122.18 a semester, depending on what meal plans the students choose.

NCCU also is considering a proposed “enrollment fee” of $100, which would apply to all new students hoping to hold a slot for undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. The cost is meant to offset expenses associated with enrollment management.

The NCCU School of Law may also see a tuition increase -- fall 2014 may bring a $541 rate increase to resident students and a $1,446 increase to nonresident students. Then increases would be to strengthen the school’s academic programs, student services and operations and infrastructure, as well as increase student financial aid and expand faculty and student research.

Bernice Johnson, interim provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, said enrollment targets for the university next year will be 1,200 first-time freshmen and 1,500 new transfer students.

As of Nov. 8, there were 1,257 applicants for spring 2014 and 4,751 applicants for the fall of next year.

The university fell short of its enrollment goals this year. Out of nearly 3,000 accepted applicants to N.C. Central’s freshman class this fall semester, only 946 enrolled. The university had the capacity to enroll 1,100 to 1,500.

NCCU Vice Chancellor Wendell Davis provided the Board of Trustees an update on repairs to the Chancellor’s House at 18 Appleton Place in Durham, which has fallen into disrepair, causing serious health and safety concerns. NCCU Chancellor Debra Saunders-White lives in the house that was purchased by the UNC system in 1993.

The university has pinpointed structural problems in the guest bathrooms, roof leaks and needed upgrades to lighting controls and appliances.

Phase 1 of the project, which is tackling the master bathroom and guest bathroom repairs, was contracted at $64,075 and has already gone through demolition, structural framing, wall framing and plumbing fixes. Phase 1 is expected to be complete by the end of the week.

“I completely underestimated the amount of damage that existed, and so when the contractor did pull up that floor, I’m amazed at how we were able to survive not falling through,” Saunders-White said. “That wood really was severely damaged, it was rot, it was wet, just tick the list off. You could just pluck the wood away with your finger.”

The  second phase is expected to include replacing the flat roof before winter’s first snowfall. Overall, the project is 40 percent complete and expected to cost a total of about $200,000 of non-state funds, such as alumni donations.

In other news, NCCU has 23 campus-wide repair and renovation projects listed for 2013-14, including emergency telephone and safety upgrades, and basement foundation leak repairs to the Hoey Administration Building.

There is $70 million worth of deferred maintenance on this campus, Davis said.

“The funding in respect to what comes down from the state to satisfy those needs just has not, in fact, been there,” he said. “... This is nothing that’s unique to our campus. It is an unmet need, quite frankly, and as what few dollars we receive in repair and renovation funds come available, we stick our fingers in the dike as best we can.”