On Thursday, the tuition and fees advisory committee said a tuition hike by 5.5 to 6.5 percent is unavoidable.
"I must say, I'm frankly very worried about this university," Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Bruce Carney said. "We're trying to find ... every source of revenue we can find, cut costs every way we can. We've made a lot of progress, but this is going to be a very, very hard year."
"It's easy for me, but I have a lot of friends who are, they are having to take out loans so it's difficult," UNC sophomore James White said. "But I feel like the money actually goes to the right things and I'd be all for it."
The committee says it has a couple ideas to increase tuition --one that would affect out-of-state students the most and another, they say, is more palatable.
"Out-of-state students it's probably about a $200 difference," Carney said. "For in-state students, it's probably $40 a year."
But a one-time cut may not be enough. The university says it is worried they'll have to cut more, because Republicans taking over the General Assembly in January have promised to make even deeper cuts.
Carney says layoffs are also inevitable, but they're very reluctant to cut professors and management.
"Are you willing to pay more, strain a little harder for the highest quality education, or do you want us to sink a little bit, be less expensive ... but less valuable overall to this state," Carney said.
The tuition hike plans will go to the chancellor, board of trustees and governors and then the legislature.