Friday, Sept. 14, the University of North Carolina (UNC) System Board of Governors approved a policy granting each of the 17 universities in the system the right to determine how much of student tuition is used towards financial aid.
A month ago the Board of Governors discussed a plan that would require the universities to use at most 25 percent of tuition money for need-based financial aid. Prior to this, there had been a 25 percent floor on the amount of money universities could allocate from tuition to need-based aid.
The new policy approved Friday will eliminate this minimum financial aid window and allow the chancellor of each university to set aside either more or less of the tuition, depending on the needs of the specific university.  This could allow universities to set aside no funds for need-based financial aid.
UNC Charlotte Chancellor Phillip L. Dubois supports the board’s ruling to leave this decision up to the individual chancellors. Prior to this approval of this policy, UNC Charlotte used 25 percent of tuition money towards need-based financial aid, and Dubois does not see this changing.
“I’ve always believed that the chancellor should have that discretion. [UNC Charlotte is] probably not going to deviate from what we’ve done before though, which has been to have a 25 percent set aside for financial aid,” he said. “We still have to go through a process though, and that will include consultation with students, when we get to that point in the process. We’ll see what they say. There is no question that our financial need here is significant.”
While Dubois knows that the financial need at UNC Charlotte is large, he also says that there needs to be a limit to how much money is set aside for need-based grants for the student body.
“You could make it whatever number you’d like, but the fact is that if you put too much money in financial aid you won’t have it for other things at the university,” he said.
The new policy also will require universities to be transparent with students about how much of their tuition will be set aside for financial aid.
“There is some language on the [tuition] bills that will come to students and their parents that will say, ‘At UNC Charlotte, X percent of the tuition increase this year will go into need-based financial aid,’” said Chancellor Dubois. “That language was prescribed by the Board of Governors, so we don’t have any choice about whether to include it or what to say. The amount, that percentage amount, will be based on what each chancellor decides.”
Dubois sees using tuition money towards financial aid as a way of helping students make the most out of their time at the university and allow more students to be able to attend. Sixty-six percent of UNC Charlotte students are currently receiving financial aid, greater than the 60 percent across the entire UNC system.
“If you get a tuition assistance grant, you’re going to spend some of that money back at the university. You’re going to spend it at the bookstore or on your tuition,” said Dubois. “That money isn’t wasted, it’s just that it’s been a way of trying to help the neediest of students.”
A final decision on what percentage of UNC Charlotte’s tuition dollars will be used towards financial aid will not be decided until later this fall after the chancellor has been able to consult with students and hear the voice of the student body.

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Eden Creamer was the Editor-in-Chief for the Niner Times from May 2013 through April 2015. She graduated from UNC Charlotte in May 2015, receiving her degree in Communication Studies with minors in English, Journalism and Women's Studies. She now does freelance proofing, copywriting and design in the Charlotte area, and can be reached at edencreamer@gmail.com

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