The University of North Carolina Board of Governors approved a big tuition hike for public colleges across the state on Friday.
The budget plan was agreed upon by the Finance and Budget Committee on Thursday.
The move comes as universities scramble for cash to close big budget holes.
Even before the decision was official, students marched outside in protest.
Student Lauren Hollowell said, “Our message is that we think tuition hikes are the only answer for this huge state deficit and I was pretty sure it was going to pass, and we want to make a stand that this is not what the students want.”
Despite the effort by students, the board unanimously approved the measure, which would raise tuition an average of six point five percent for students of the state’s public colleges and universities.
UNC system president Tom Ross said it was a difficult decision to make.
“We’re constantly trying to balance the need for educational excellence with trying to keep tuition as low as possible so the universties can be successful,” Ross said.
The board also approved discontinuing 60 programs to cut costs. Ross said chancellors at the universities looked at programs with low enrollment and they are being eliminated in a way that will not damage students.
Following the meeting, Ross met with student protestors to explain why the actions were necessary.
State lawmakers still have to give final approval to the changes.