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