UNC-Chapel Hill braces for possible tuition increase

September 21, 2011 2:22:00 PM PDT
UNC Chapel Hill leaders say they are bracing for the possibility of a tuition increase, after wrapping up a board of trustees meeting Wednesday.

The university says it is $20 million in the hole for the next fiscal year, along with more than $5 million in scholarship losses.

The campus turned to the UNC healthcare system for a $20 million handout, but there's no guarantee those funds will be available again.

Leaders say the current budget crunch has already had a significant impact on students from reduced library hours to 500 fewer courses and several classes that exceed capacity, increasing the student to teacher ratio.

UNC is trying to get ahead of future cuts from the state. Some capital projects are on hold to protect the university's credit rating. But the university admits there's little to no money for building maintenance and repairs.

According to UNC, deeper cuts from the state would seriously hinder the administrative level of the university that's already spread thin. Chancellor Holden Thorp says UNC is going to aggressively pursue other funding.

"We're gonna have a tuition process coming this fall, and we have a great tradition of low tuition here, but we're getting to the point now where the quality of care at Carolina is at risk," Thorp said. "And we're going to have to forcefully start making the case for how we can raise tuition, protect the quality of what we've done, and still ensure the access to Carolina that people have come to count on for all these years."

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