If you’re a Conservative or Republican there’s a lot to like in the state budget.
As usual however, there are still things that make you want to pull out your hair. One such item is a provision that reimburses UNC Chapel Hill $500,000 for penalties for exceeding the cap on out-of-state enrollment.
The specific provision reads:
REIMBURSE FINE ASSESSED AGAINST UNC-CHAPEL HILL FOR EXCEEDING OUT-OF-STATE STUDENT ADMISSION LIMIT SECTION 11.9. Of the funds appropriated by this act to the Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina for the 2016-2017 fiscal year, the sum of five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) shall be allocated to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a reimbursement for the fine assessed against the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for exceeding the eighteen percent (18%) limit on the admission of out-of-state students in the entering freshman class for the 2015-2016 academic year.
This is budgeting of the worst kind. Why? The provision weakens the UNC Board of Governors authority to set tuition policy, treats one campus differently than others and conveys the notion that Chapel Hill would rather educate students from outside North Carolina.
Steve Long, a member of the UNC Board of Governors also dislikes the provision. Long said the Board of Governors assessed the penalty against UNC-Chapel Hill for exceeding the 18 percent camp for two consecutive years. Long also said:
If we had not acted, the 18% nonresident cap would have no meaning. This budget item undercuts the Board of Governors in implementing policies to govern the University and raises the question whether other campuses will also receive this treatment if they are penalized for exceeding the cap. UNC-Chapel Hill should not get preferential treatment.
According to Long, the penalty funds that were assessed still benefit the University because they were added to a fund that finances the UNC Need-Based Grant Financial Aid Program for resident undergraduate students. See the attached memo from the Board of Governors Budget and Finance Committee
The reimbursement provision is an offense to taxpayers and UNC institutions and it creates two different sets of rules. The cap was started as a way of ensuring state students were not shut out of UNC- Chapel Hill in favor of out-of-state students whose higher tuition brought in more revenue. Now it’s not hard to see how certain schools develop elitist images.
Conservatives and Republicans should know better.