At UNC Chapel Hill, trustees have signed off on a tuition and fee increase package for the next academic year.
The plan, which will now be submitted to the UNC system's Board of Governors, raises tuition $200 for in-state students. Out-of-state undergrads would get a $1,127 rate hike, while out-of-state grad students would pay $732 more in 2010-11. Fees would go up $96.01 for all students.
Under the plan, in-state undergraduate students would pay $5,921.42 in tuition and fees next year, and out-of-staters would pay $24,736.42.
Those numbers do not include room, board, books and other expenses.
There's a catch to all this. The 2009 General Assembly has already set rates for 2010-11 that will raise in-state tuition $200 or 8 percent, whichever is less. That decision trumps anything on the campus or UNC-system level.
So the tuition rates the UNC-CH campus trustees approved today include that $200 increase for in-state students.
But last UNC system President Erskine Bowles said recently that legislative leaders are willing to listen to alternate proposals.
If the General Assembly's edict holds, all tuition revenue raised would go into the state's general fund. If it decides next year to adopt a university tuition plan instead, revenue raised would be used for campus needs, and half of it would be set aside for financial aid.
Campus officials would very much like to keep that $200 that the General Assembly has targeted for the General Fund.
The increase for nonresident students has created some discontent, but campus and UNC-system leaders have long viewed those students differently than North Carolinians. Tuition for out-of-state students has often been set with market and competitiveness data used as guidelines.
Ryan Morgan, a UNC-CH student representing 5,000 other non-resident students, told trustees prior to Thursday's vote that the cost of an out-of-state education is forcing some students to withdraw.
"I myself am graduating one year early because I can't afford to stay here an additional year," said Morgan, who is from Alabama. "Out-of-state students are imperative to the quality of the university. What good is the best university in the country if you can't afford it?"
Read more on this issue in Friday's News & Observer.