The University of North Carolina system recently submitted a proposal for a tuition hike for the next two fiscal years for tuition at UNC Charlotte.
The proposed plan would increase undergraduate tuition rates by $106 for fiscal year 2016 and by $109 for fiscal year 2017. The board of governors will vote on the proposal during their Feb. meeting on February 26 and 27 that will be held at UNC Charlotte.
The funding that comes to UNC Charlotte falls into three main categories: tuition, fees and appropriations. Fees generally cover student life while tuition covers the actual education that students receive.
Appropriations are paid by the state’s education fund and highly subsidize tuition. Beth Hardin, vice chancellor for business affairs, explained this is done so “the state pays for the academic ‘stuff’ and students pay for ‘student life’.”
According to Hardin, 65 percent of tuition is covered by state appropriations and in-state students are only required to pay about 35 percent of the actual cost of tuition. This explains why tuition for out-of-state students is much higher as their tax dollars are paid to their home state and therefore they pay the full, unsubsidized price of tuition at UNC Charlotte.
The state of North Carolina has done well at highly subsidizing higher education, according to Hardin.
“Even after the [2008 recession], UNC schools are still very well supported with appropriations,” said Hardin.
The rate change has been adjusted so that, if approved, both in-state and out-of-state students will pay the same amount in tuition increases.
For in-state students, this equates to roughly a 3 percent increase in tuition for fiscal years 2016 and 2017. This means the proposal has an aggregate tuition increase of 3.3 percent for in-state undergraduates.
Out-of-state students will have a tuition increase of roughly 0.635 percent and 0.649 percent for fiscal years 2016 and 2017 respectively.
In addition to the increase in tuition, there is an expected increase in fees of 5 percent for both fiscal years. Increases in tuition and fees comply with the fee cap set by the board of governors which allows a maximum 5 percent increase per fiscal year.
This year a two-year tuition increase was proposed in lieu of the usual annual increase proposal to allot for needed revenue due to the increasing student population. From 2009 to 2014, a total of 46 percent of the UNC systems’ enrollment growth came from UNC Charlotte alone. This has put increasing demands on university resources and especially on faculty and staff.
According to Hardin, the tuition and fee increases will fund more faculty, better compensation for faculty and staff and more student services. The incremental revenue from the tuition increases will be roughly $2.9 million for fiscal year 2016 and $3.2 million for fiscal year 2017.