It will cost more to attend public colleges in North Carolina this fall. On Tuesday, UNC President Erskine Bowles approved a tuition increase for UNC campuses. Tuition at UNC Chapel Hill and NC State University will increase $750. Tuition at NC Central University will increase $435.
Yesterday’s actions were in addition to a system wide $200 hike for all institutions. Thus, resident tuition for the typical student at UNC-Chapel Hill increased about $950, or about 24 percent over last year ($3,865).
Still, by most standards, tuition at UNC institutions is considered a bargain. Why? There are several factors. Article IX Section 9 of the North Carolina State Constitution says the state is to provide the benefits of public higher education to the people of the state free of expense, “as far as practicable”
However, another reason for the relatively low public tuition is that UNC has perfected the practice of passing along other charges in the form of fees. A quick review of UNC tuition and fees charges reveals there are fees for athletics, health services, student activities, educational and technology and debt service.
How much do the additional fees add to the cost of college? Quite a bit. Last year, total fees at UNC-Chapel Hill were $1,443 or about 41 percent of tuition. However, at Appalachian State, students paid $2,083 in student fees ( 88 percent of resident undergraduate tuition) . At Winston Salem State University, students paid $1,702 in student fees, almost the same amount that was charged for resident undergraduate tuition ($1,769).
Any discussion concerning UNC costs must not only consider tuition, but also the steady expansion of student fees.