Legislation has been introduced to end tuition breaks granted to full scholarship athletes within the UNC System. Under the current law, anyone receiving a full academic or athletic scholarship is charged in-state tuition. The law has cost the UNC campuses about $10 million a year in lost tuition revenue.
No doubt supporters of athletics teams at UNC campuses won’t like the change. The current law is a huge boon to UNC athletics departments. It has helped to stretch contributions and allowed athletics programs to expand in other areas. A recent article on college sports and finances in the Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required) lists UNC Chapel Hill as having the largest sports endowment ($212 million) of any college in the nation. With 437 athletes, UNC Chapel Hill’s endowment per athlete is $485,126. Conversely, UNC Chapel Hill’s endowment per student for the entire campus is $122,784.
Based on these figures, Tar Heel sports teams who benefit greatly from the current provisions could likely whether the change. Other UNC athletic programs like NC State and ECU would also likely be impacted by the proposed changes. Still, in difficult economic times the change could provide much needed additional revenue for a system that’s had to absorb budget cuts of 6 percent and also raise student tuition. Those receiving full academic scholarships would remain unaffected by the legislation.