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Tuition and fee hike proposed

By Kelly Mayo
Managing Editor

October 18, 2012

Infographic by Hillary Akers

The Tuition and Fees Committee officially proposed a $199 tuition increase at UNCP for the 2013-14 school year at its meeting on Sept. 26.

The increase is the second in a planned multi-year increase approved by the UNC Board of Governors last year.

The committee also proposed that 60 percent of the increase go toward faculty salary raises.

Faculty received a 1.2 percent increase in 2012-13 after going five years without a raise.

In addition, the committee proposed an $88 increase in student fees. Tuition for the 2012-13 year rose by $199, and there was no increase in student fees.

Members of the committee shared the planned increase and explained the reasons for it at two Student Forums in the UC Annex at 3:30 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. on Oct. 10.

All proposals for increases in tuition and fees must be approved by Chancellor Kyle R. Carter before being submitted to the UNCP Board of Trustees.

Debate over tuition

Chancellor Carter offered sympathy at the forum for students forced to pay higher tuition.

"If there's any comfort I can offer, we are starting at a much lower tuition" than schools in surrounding states, he said.

He also said that higher tuition would pay off in the form of more student services.

"We don't want to deny the resources needed to provide the quality education that we promised students," he said.

Dr. Kevin Freeman, chair of the Department of Political Science, said at the tuition and fee committee meeting that faculty are "grumbling" about the lack of pay raises, and that it made it "increasingly difficult for them to do their jobs."

He also said that UNCP has lost six faculty members in the last year, "and others are sending resumes this, there and everywhere."

He said that the departures leave remaining faculty to take on more work and increase class sizes with no compensation.

SGA President Robert Nunnery said that it is not the job of student tuition to pay faculty's salaries, calling it "borrowing from Peter to pay Paul."

Nunnery also disapproved of the tuition increase as a whole.

"What about students who didn't return because they couldn't pay the bill? What about student and parent morale?" he asked.

Student forums

Infographic by Hillary Akers
About nine students, including Nunnery, and several faculty and staff members attended the first forum.

About 32 students, including Nunnery and 22 SGA senators and officers, as well as three voting members of the Tuition and Fees Committee and six faculty and staff members attended the second forum.

Provost Ken Kitts called the committee's discussion on the tuition increase "one step in a long, continuous process," and said how vital it was to get students' opinions on it.

"One of the most important things is to have student input. We want to be completely transparent," he said.

Dr. Kitts used a PowerPoint to compare UNCP's 2012-13 tuition and fee increase with the other 16 schools in the UNC system. UNCP had the second-lowest increase in the system, with Winston-Salem State University's the lowest at $177.

Dr. Kitts then showed other schools' tentative tuition increases for 2013-14. UNC-Charlotte and the NC School of the Arts had the highest increase at $600.

"I think when the smoke clears…we will continue to be the most affordable school in the system," Dr. Kitts said.

Dr. Kitts said that the 40 percent of the tuition increase not going toward faculty salaries will go toward "student academic enrichment programs."

This includes internships, living and learning communities, service learning and other programs.

Assistant Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs George Guthrie explained the student fee increase.

He said that the committee had proposed an increase of $29 for Athletics, $14 for Health Services and $45 for Education and Technology, and no increase for Student Activities.

Students who attended the forums asked questions and made suggestions for how UNCP can remain competitive and affordable. SGA Senator Luciano Alvarado said that UNCP should enter an agricultural partnership like the one NC A&T State has with NCSU. He also criticized the committee for increasing tuition for commuter students like him who spend a great deal of money on gas to get to and from school.

"You might as well get a rope…and hang me," Sen. Alvarado said.

Senior Ally Burrill said she was once awarded $5,000 in financial aid, then had it revoked when she said that she was an out-of-state student. She suggested that part of the higher tuition that out-of-state students pay should go towards grants and other awards specifically for them.

"It's pretty reasonable once you look at how it's broken down…as long as financial aid steps up," she said.

Student Chris Bullock did not agree.

"It [the forum] was grossly under-attended and mismanaged. They seemed more interested in telling us about decisions that have already been made. The only reason we're raising tuition is because we're cheaper than our peer institutions," Bullock said.

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