Tuition caps will help many undergraduates in the University of North Carolina system next year, including those at UNC-Chapel Hill and three other schools that are barred from raising in-state tuition at all.
Tuition increases are limited to a maximum of 6.5 percent each year under a new policy approved by the system’s Board of Governors. The board promised to lower that cap if the 16-campus system received better-than-average state funding.
State lawmakers did just that, approving a budget that provided the overall system with a 10.7 percent increase in state funding for the school year. The increase for each individual university varied.
The board’s policy said tuition caps at each campus would drop if the school received more than a 6 percent increase in state funding. For example, if the university received a 7 percent increase, the school’s tuition cap would be 5.5 percent.
UNC Chapel Hill’s increase was 12.5 percent, which left it no room to raise in-state tuition for undergraduates. UNC Charlotte received 7.5 percent more per full-time-equivalent student, dropping its tuition cap to 5 percent, which means the $2,461 undergraduates paid this year can only increase by $123 next year.
Five schools were able to use the maximum 6.5 percent cap: North Carolina State University, East Carolina University, Elizabeth City State, Fayetteville State and UNC Pembroke.
N.C. State had the highest in-state undergraduate tuition for the 2007-08 school year at $3,760, followed closely by the $3,705 tuition at UNC Chapel Hill, according to the UNC system. The lowest tuitions were at Elizabeth City State at $1,587 and Winston-Salem State’s $1,701.
Fee increases still face a 6.5 percent cap, except those for debt service.
In pushing for the new policy, UNC system President Erskine Bowles said each university has a responsibility to keep tuition low. Bowles also said state leaders must adequately fund public universities.
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