North Carolina residents who attend the state's public universities won't see a tuition hike next year, but fees are on the rise.
On Friday, the UNC Board of Governors approved the 2018-19 tuition and fee rates for the 16 universities. In-state tuition will be flat at most campuses, but three universities — Elizabeth City State, UNC Pembroke and Western Carolina — will see a substantial decrease, thanks to the NC Promise program, a reduced tuition plan funded by the legislature. At those campuses, tuition will be $1,000 a year for in-state students and $5,000 for out-of-state students.
But fee charges will rise at most campuses, and a new fee at UNC-Chapel Hill's Kenan-Flagler Business School will mean a $2,000-a-year hike for undergraduate majors and $1,000 for minors. The controversial fee was proposed by the business school in order to grow enrollment by 50 percent to meet a growing demand by students.
Tuition passed overwhelmingly by the board at its meeting at UNC Wilmington, but the fee vote was divided, with five members dissenting.
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"In the prior 10 years in the system, we've doubled tuition on our students and parents in the state and now we're raising it even higher," said Thom Goolsby, a board member from Wilmington, who voted no. "Our constitution requires us to make it as free as possible."
Board member Tom Fetzer, also from Wilmington, pointed out that the largest percentage fee increase proposals came from campuses that serve students from lower socio-economic backgrounds.
"We have got to find a way to get more revenue to these institutions," Fetzer said. "As we travel around and visit the campuses, we can easily see the differential in resources and quality of infrastructure. ... We've got to do something about that, because some of these institutions really need our help, and they can't get there by increasing costs on the families of the students that they're trying to recruit."
The board agreed it would conduct a close examination of tuition and fee policies in the months ahead — with a particular eye to the issue of what should and shouldn't be funded with mandatory student fees. Included in that discussion may be a strategy for different out-of-state tuition rates for campuses that are located near the state borders.
Here are the 2018-19 tuition and fees for North Carolina residents at the Triangle universities:
▪ $6,348 at N.C. Central University;
▪ $8,896 at N.C. State University;
▪ $8,758 at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Here are the tuition and fees for out-of-state students:
▪ $19,055 at N.C. Central University;
▪ $28,239 at N.C. State University;
▪ $34,941 at UNC-Chapel Hill.
The total price would be higher, though, because of room, board and book costs.
The total cost of attendance for North Carolina residents would be $19,934 at NCCU, $22,762 at NCSU and $23,826 at UNC-Chapel Hill, not accounting for any financial aid a student might qualify for.
The board had told campuses to hold the line on in-state tuition this year, though out-of-state tuition increases were allowed. Out-of-state tuition won't increase at some schools, but it will rise at others, including a 4 percent hike at N.C. State.
In other business, the board announced candidates for new officers for the board. Running unopposed are:
▪ Harry Smith, a Greenville businessman, for chairman
▪ Randy Ramsey, a Beaufort businessman, for vice chairman
▪ Pearl Burris-Floyd, a former legislator from Dallas, for a second term as secretary
The board officer election will happen in May.