Oct 292012
 

The Wilmington Star News

Published: Friday, October 26, 2012

UNCW to discuss tuition, fee increase

Trustees reviewed process at Friday’s board meeting

By Pressley Baird, Pressley.Baird@StarNewsOnline.com

Trustees at the University of North Carolina Wilmington have a little more than a month to decide whether they’ll increase the cost of students’ tuition and fees next year. At Friday’s trustees meeting, they got a refresher on how the process works.

When Chancellor Gary Miller took the school’s top job in July 2011, he started reshaping the way tuition information and requests are delivered to trustees. He reminded them about that process, which happens in the month leading up to December’s tuition-focused trustees meeting, and updated them on tuition changes both from the UNC-system Board of Governors and specific to the university.

Trustees will receive recommendations for tuition and fee increases in the next two weeks, Miller said. Each trustee will be mailed a packet to consider, and Miller will also meet with each trustee individually to hear any concerns about his proposal.

Miller said his plan is to structure the tuition and fee process so changes are directly tied to the university’s goals.

“We’re getting to the point where the recommendations you get from us are not just the filtering of a large wish list, but in fact are directly related to elements of our strategy,” he said.

Last year, UNCW raised tuition by 9.3 percent, or about $527, for in-state undergraduates. Out-of-state students saw a 4.6 percent increase, about $810.

Specifics about increases for the 2013-14 school year are still being hammered out among Miller and his senior staff, he told trustees. But he did note a few changes to this year’s tuition packet.

One of the biggest – “fairly dramatic,” in Miller’s words – is a provision from the UNC-system Board of Governors that allows individual campuses to use any portion of its tuition for financial aid purposes. Before, campuses had to set aside 25 percent of tuition for financial aid purposes. Miller said UNCW’s percentage hadn’t been determined yet.

The Board of Governors also approved a $283 tuition increase for in-state undergraduate students as part of a “catch up” process to help alleviate budget cuts in recent years, Miller said. Every school in the UNC-system has a similar increase.

Trustees will also review a recommendation to reduce student fees, Miller said. That reduction, which is specific to UNCW, came about when the school’s business affairs department refinanced the debt service on student housing funds. Miller said he couldn’t discuss the details of the decrease because it hadn’t been finalized yet, but told trustees he was “pretty excited about that one.”

Trustees will hold the meeting on tuition and fees on Dec. 14, where they’ll approve a recommendation to send to the UNC-system Board of Governors. The Board of Governors will likely make final decisions about tuition increases in February.

Pressley Baird: 343-2328  On Twitter: @PressleyBaird

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