Commentaries
Student fee increases are being overlooked in tuition discussions

UNC Association of Student Governments seeks fee increase

By Jon Sanders

Comments

February 22, 2002

Although tuition increases have generated the most controversy in the past few months and years at schools in the University of North Carolina System, another increasing cost of attending UNC schools -- increasing student fees -- has gone unremarked.

In fact, the one student group agitating against tuition increases in the UNC system -- the UNC Association of Student Governments -- is itself seeking huge increases in its own budget through an increase in student fees. Currently the UNCASG is supposed to receive $250 from those campuses, totaling $4,000 in fees revenue, but only ten campuses could afford to pay those fees, so its budget was $2,500. Now the UNCASG has proposed tacking on an additional $1 fee on all UNC students to raise its annual budget to $165,000. If the group succeeded in obtaining that increase, its budget would grow in one year by 6,600 percent.

The Daily Tar Heel reported Jan. 31 that the UNCASG would use this massive increase to help fund stipends for UNCASG officers, which are also UNC students, and pay $40,000 for a managing director. They would also set aside $10,000 for traveling expenses.

Student fees -- the hidden cost of attending a UNC institution -- have outstripped tuition increases on many UNC campuses since 1996-97: Elizabeth City State University, Fayetteville State University, N.C. A&T State University, N.C. School of the Arts, N.C. Central University, Western Carolina University, and Winston-Salem State University. In fact, fees are now higher than in-state tuition at Elizabeth City State, UNC-Asheville, Western Carolina, and Winston-Salem State. Fees also rival the cost of in-state tuition (totalling at least 85 percent of the cost of tuition) at Appalachian State University, N.C. Central, UNC-Greensboro, and UNC-Wilmington.

The following table shows the cost of in-state tuition and fees at UNC schools in 1996-97 and 2001-02, and how much each cost has increased during that five-year period.


Fees vs. Tuition Increases at UNC schools, 1996-97 to 2001-02


Student Fees Tuition (In-State)
UNC school 1996-97 2001-02 5-yr increase 1996-97 2001-02 5-yr increase
Appalachian $790 $1,048 32.7% $ 874 $1,222 39.8%
Elizabeth City St. 738 944 27.9 730 896 22.7
E. Carolina 878 1,048 19.4 874 1,453 66.2
Fayetteville St. 514 698 35.8 874 1,072 22.7
NC A&T 687 1,017 48.0 874 1,222 39.8
NC Central 722 1,078 49.3 874 1,272 45.5
NC Sch. Arts 780 1,215 55.8 1,359 1,662 22.3
NC State 814 900 10.6 1,386 2,328 68.0
UNCA 993 1,229.50 23.8 730 1,196 63.8
UNCC 842 1,039 23.4 874 1,417 62.1
UNC-CH 724 891.42 23.1 1,386 2,328 68.0
UNCG 957 1,231 28.6 986 1,358 37.7
UNCP 593 917 54.6 874 1,152 31.8
UNCW 860 1,266 47.2 874 1,317 50.7
W. Carolina 789 1,164.50 47.6 874 1,072 22.7
Winston-Salem St. 684 1,022 49.4 730 896 22.7

Source: The University of North Carolina web site, www.northcarolina.edu, and Statistical Abstract of Higher Education in North Carolina, 1996-97.

 


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