With college students facing rising tuition costs to compensate for lost general fund appropriations, which went instead to hire 894 additional government workers, every step should have been taken to ease the pain of this year’s budget cuts in the public higher education sector. However, every practicable step was not taken.
For example, Rep. George Cleveland (R-Onslow) proposed an amendment to the House budget, which passed, that would have required the Morehead-Cain and Park Scholarship Foundations to pay out-of-state tuition for out-of-state scholarship recipients. Currently both scholarship foundations, which provide prestigious full scholarships to students and UNC Chapel Hill and NC State respectively, pay in-state tuition for recipients regardless of residency. In-state tuition is more than $10,000 cheaper than out-of-state tuition at both universities. The amendment, which would have saved the state $6 million according to Cleveland’s amendment, was not included in the final budget. A similar amendment requiring scholarships paying for out-of-state athletes to pay out-of-state tuition was included in the budget. Previously, all athletic scholarships paid in-state tuition. This measure saved the state $9.4 million. What differentiates academic scholarships from athletic scholarships and why did the state not move to save $6 million more for the universities?