2017 Fiscal Year State Budget, NC Budget and Tax Center

Initial review of Governor’s higher ed budgets that fail to ensure affordable higher education

Here are key highlights from Gov. McCrory’s proposed higher education budgets.

Community College System

Consists of 58 community colleges across the state serving all of North Carolina’s 100 counties.

The community college budget follows a larger trend of failing to boost public investment in the state’s education pipeline, with the exception of some additional funding for one-time bonuses, equipment upgrades, and a locally-driven initiative to promote post-secondary success. After years of steady increases in tuition, the proposed budget does not reverse this trend, failing to make post-secondary training and education at community colleges more affordable.

  • Funding provided for discretionary one-time bonuses, maximum $3,000, to selected state employees at NC community colleges ($29.4 million).
  • Savings recognized due to decline in enrollment ($26.2 million).
  • Funding provided for locally-determined support services to help ensure students earn a credential or degree ($16.6 million).
  • One-time funding provided to upgrade and maintain instructional equipment at NC community colleges ($7.5 million).

UNC System

Consists of 16 four-year public universities across the state serving more than 220,000 students, as well as the NC School of Science and Mathematics.

Under the Governor’s budget, state funding per student remains well below pre-recession spending – more than 15 percent less compared to 2008 when adjusted for inflation. Beyond funding for enrollment growth and one-time bonuses, no effort is made to restore large and damaging funding cuts to the UNC System in recent years. The budget fails to help make higher education more affordable, meaning students and families will likely continue to bear the burden of the rising cost of a college education.

  • Fully funds anticipated enrollment growth ($32.9 million).
  • Funding provided to replenish UNC Faculty and Retention Fund, which supports the recruit and retention of high-quality faculty within UNC System ($3 million).
  • Funding provided for discretionary one-time bonuses, maximum $3,000, to selected state employees within UNC System ($58.5 million).
  • Funding provided for experience-based pay raise for teachers at NC School of Science and Math ($192,711); also implements a new salary schedule for teachers.
  • Appropriates $5.8 million of education lottery dollars to expand K-12 Special Education scholarships by 300 students, with a maximum award amount of $4,000 per semester. Scholarships allow parents of students with specials needs to pay for private school tuition, therapy and other related services.
  • Appropriates $5 million of education lottery dollars for at least 1,000 newly created merit-based scholarships to encourage academically gifted and highly sought-after undergraduate math, science and health degree-seeking NC students to attend UNC institutions.
  • Provides ongoing funding to stabilize operations at Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University ($8 million).

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