The Tuition Review Advisory Committee (TRAC) met on Friday, Oct. 4 to discuss tuition increase recommendations for the upcoming 2020-21 school year. While this does not mean tuition increases are finalized, the recommendation will be used by the NC State Board of Trustees to make a further decision.
Due to the UNC System’s Fixed Tuition Program, in-state undergraduate students have tuition locked for four years, so only incoming in-state first-years in the 2020 class or current students entering their fifth years will be affected by this increase.
TRAC is comprised of 18 members and is co-chaired by Warwick Arden, executive vice chancellor and provost, and Student Body President Emma Carter, a fourth-year studying sociology and international studies.
The proposed increases are as follows:
- 2.5% for in-state undergraduate students
- 3% for out-of-state undergraduate students
- 2.5% for in-state graduate students
- 4% for out-of-state graduate students
According to figures presented and discussed at the meeting, this would lead to an estimated $7.1 million in new revenue.
Carter said the recent legislation passed by Student Senate hoped to limit tuition increases to slightly lower percentages than what the committee’s final proposal was.
Graduate Student Association President James Withrow, a Ph.D. student in biology and entomology, also spoke in favor of the legislation, which he authored.
“It’s very much intended to make a reasonable proposal,” Withrow said. “I hope it seems reasonable, whether or not we end up going with it, to address both a desire to keep increases relatively low but also to recognize that there are important things that we need to do with this money.”
After half an hour of deliberation, the committee decided to make the tuition increases slightly higher than the ones recommended by Student Senate.
According to Associate Vice Provost and Director of Scholarships and Financial Aid Krista Ringler, who is member of the committee, all figures shown at the meeting were estimates. The $7.1 million of additional revenue was based on estimated enrollment numbers, which are based on enrollment data and trends from recent years.
The additional revenue from tuition increases goes toward four categories of spending: need-based financial aid, the Graduate Student Support Plan, faculty promotional increases, and improving the quality and accessibility of NC State’s programs, according to a presentation at the meeting.
The faculty promotional increases category, which goes toward paying for things like salary increases, sits at a flat $1 million in all models presented. This equates to approximately 14.1% of TRAC’s proposal.
As tuition increases, need-based financial aid must also increase proportionally to it, and the final plan allocates 33.7% of new revenue toward it, or approximately $2.4 million.
The Graduate Student Support Plan is a program that provides graduate students tuition remission and health insurance, as long as they work in certain capacities through the university. As graduate students’ tuition rises, funds allocated toward this plan must also proportionally increase, and about 23% of new revenue, or $1.6 millionwould be allocated under TRAC’s final proposal.
The remaining 29.1%, equating to an estimated $2 million, will go toward improving NC State’s programs. According to Ringler, this money is used in ways like paying for new instructors, new advisors and increasing the number of seats available in classes.