The North Carolina Central University Board of Trustees approved a package of tuition and fees increases for the 2013-14 academic year on Dec. 20. Most of the money raised would support need-based financial aid and instructional budgets, two areas that experienced significant cuts in state appropriations.
The board approved a $1.03 million tuition increase for 2013-14, which equates to $111 per year for undergraduate students and $165 for graduate students. In fiscal year 2011-12, the NCCU Board of Trustees and UNC Board of Governors approved a five-year tuition increase of $100 for undergraduate and graduate students. The increase totals $211 for undergraduate students and $265 for graduate students, with projected revenue of $1.8 million dollars.
Over the past two fiscal years, NCCU sustained a 14 percent budget cut. These cuts translated into a $13 million permanent budget reduction to the university’s state budget. Since fiscal year 2000-2001, NCCU has lost nearly $60 million from permanent cuts and one-time budget reductions.
“Permanent budget cuts and reductions at this level are difficult for the university to absorb without seriously impacting direct instruction,” said Wendell Davis, vice chancellor for Administration and Finance. NCCU discussed the proposed budget cuts with students in a series of student forums held in November. Although many understood the need for the increases, several students expressed objection to any increase.
The proposed $1.8 million generated from the tuition increase will support need-based financial aid and student retention through the hiring of additional faculty, academic advisors and tutors. In addition, the proposed funding would provide for instructional operating budgets, improve the technology infrastructure, fund graduate student assistantships and support library operations.
“Any rate increase is too high for our students and their families; yet, in light of significant budget cuts over the past two years, the tuition increases are a necessity to maintain student success,” said NCCU Interim Chancellor Charles L. Becton. “The university is undergoing efforts to revisit priorities through continued review of program offerings and evaluation of approaches to improve operational efficiencies through process improvement. The additional tuition revenue will help restore critical dollars lost from recent budget cuts, protect academic quality and provide resources to help bolster retention and graduation rates,” said Becton.
The board also voted to increase annual general fee rate, which support athletics, health services and student activities. This amount was increased by $114.06 for undergraduates and $109.40 for graduate students. The total increase translates to a 6.5 percent increase for general fees. These rate increases fund inflationary operating budget expenses and expanded service delivery. Further rate increases occurred to support inflationary cost with the housing rates at 3 percent and the dining program at 4 percent.
Overall, the total cost of attending NCCU for in-state undergraduates would rise by about 4.2 percent and 2.4 percent for undergraduate nonresidents. Graduate students rates would increase by 4.4 percent for residents and 2.4 for nonresidents.
The recommendations will go to the University of North Carolina Board of Governors for review and final approval.