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UNCP trustees recommend tuition increase

December 10, 2003

The UNC Pembroke Board of Trustees voted December 5 to recommend a $300 tuition increase for the 2004-5 school year.

The 12 percent tuition hike, and the estimated $1.3 million it would generate, would be divided equally between faculty and staff pay increases and increased financial aid to offset the increase for students on aid.

The proposed $300 "campus-based" tuition increase would be followed by a second $300 hike in 2005-6, the board recommended. The UNCP board passed the tuition adjustments to the UNC Board of Governors for its approval.

Student fees would also increase for 2004-5 after the trustees approved a $35 hike in fees to be split between technology, athletics and student activities.

The board approved the tuition increase by an 8-2 vote, with Trustee Rebecca Bullard and Student Government Association President Nadean Hafner dissenting.

Bullard said UNCP may lose its reputation as an "affordable university."

But Chancellor Allen C. Meadors defended the request, saying state cuts and several years without staff and faculty pay increases have been painful.

"The legislature has moved away from its financial responsibility and placed the burden back on the campuses," Chancellor Meadors said. "We have had employees drop their health insurance, and these are people making $17-18,000 a year."

UNC Pembroke's tuition and fees, at $2,490 per year, are fourth lowest among the 16 UNC campuses, Chancellor Meadors said. While praising the trustees for holding down tuition, the chancellor said the other campuses are requesting similar or larger campus-based tuition increases.

Hafner passed out a letter to the board requesting a $200 increase, saying $300 is "too high." She said more than a third of UNCP students have jobs and more will have to get jobs to pay for increased tuition.

Trustee Dick Taylor sympathized. "I sympathize with you because I worked my way through school, but what the state has done to us, education wise, is preposterous," Taylor said.

Faculty Senate Chair Tom Dooling said faculty would endorse a larger tuition increase if it went to pay salary increases. He said lack of pay increases may hurt faculty recruitment and retention.

"There is a sense of unhappiness among faculty," Dr. Dooling said. "There is a marketplace where there are steady (pay) increases."

Chancellor Meadors apologized to students, but said he could not allow UNCP to fall farther behind other universities in North Carolina.

"We would love to stay below every other university, but we've lost $6 million to state cuts, and campus-based tuition increases stay at the University, unlike the last (North Carolina General Assembly-mandated) tuition increase, which went to the state."

In other action, the UNCP trustees approved a record number of graduates for Winter Commencement. 395 students, including 75 graduate students, will receive diplomas on December 13, said Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Roger Brown.

The board also approved the purchase of the four buildings of University Village Apartments by the UNCP Foundation, Inc. Vice Chancellor for Business Affair Neil Hawk said the Foundation plans to build two additional units residential units at the North Campus complex.

And, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole will be speaker at Spring Commencement, Chancellor Meadors announced.