Chancellor Debunks Rumors
By Sara Owen, Managing Editor
For years UNCP has been the subject of rumors and speculation in the discussion of making the UNC system smaller.
It made the news in 2013 and now the rumors are flying again in 2015. Chancellor Kyle R. Carter said the rumors are untrue now like they were in 2013.
On March 5, Sara Ovaska, a writer for N.C. Policy Watch, posted her article about how BOG member Harry Smith Jr. wants to “right size” the UNC system, which he said he thinks is too large.
The UNC system includes 16 universities and the math and science school for advanced high school students in Durham, N.C.
Dr. Carter was interviewed for the N.C. Policy Watch article, but his opinion was that he did not think UNCP was in danger of closing. Ovaska led Dr. Carter’s quotes with saying, “Another campus at risk may be the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.” Ovaska’s opinion may be that UNCP is at risk, but Dr. Carter said he sees UNCP going strong for “another 128 years.”
“I don’t fear at all for the closure of this institution,” he said.
Dr. Carter said he knows the head of the finance committee and that Smith is a supporter of UNCP fulfilling its mission.
“He has been nothing but complimentary of UNC Pembroke,” he said.
Dr. Carter said many people speculate that Smith has a hidden agenda, but he doubts it.
“I have no way of knowing. I don’t think he does,” he said.
Gov. Pat McCrory recently proposed a budget for 2015-2017 that would cut $50 million from the budget for the UNC system.
Dr. Carter said the governor’s suggested budget is not final and that a final decision will not be announced until this summer.
According to the governor’s budget, “North Carolina spends a greater percentage of tax revenues (17 percent) on higher education than any other state, and our in-state tuition is third-lowest in the country behind Louisiana and Arkansas.”
Dr. Carter said the cuts could lead to more tuition and fee increases all over the UNC system and that it will put “pressure” on universities to do so.
“There will be pressure,” he said.
UNCP receives around $52 million from the state “for our operation” and expects about $20 million in tuition. UNCP does not have enough money to give raises to all of its employees, according to Dr. Carter.
“We’ve stopped giving people raises,” he said.
Dr. Carter said despite the rumors UNCP is fine.
He said students on financial aid don’t have to worry about less aid to cover tuition because as tuition goes up so does the need-based aid that many students receive.
“We will always try to fill that gap,” he said.
UNCP has one of the cheapest tuitions in the UNC system. For the 2014-2015 school year tuition was $2,900.48 cheaper per semester to attend UNCP for a regular full-time undergraduate resident student than one at UNC Chapel Hill, which costs $8,106.48 per semester for regular full-time undergraduate resident students.
Based on the governor’s budget, if it were approved, UNCP’s tuition would increase to $5,493.40 for the 2015-2016 school year and then go up to $5,735.17 for 2016-2017.
Dr. Carter said UNCP is still an affordable choice.
“We’re still a very good deal,” he said.