Despite the removal of three HBCU’s from the plan, the controversial Senate proposal to cut tuition at selected UNC system schools continues to draw heated opposition from some at the two schools that remain in (UNC Pembroke and Western Carolina). This is from a story that ran at the website Inside Higher Ed over the weekend:
“Those at Western Carolina and UNC Pembroke are still expressing concerns about the tuition and promised reimbursement, however. And others in the UNC system worry about parts of the bill that have received less attention but could still create a systemwide revenue squeeze.
At Western Carolina, a major worry is that the state might not provide enough funding to make up for lost tuition revenue. The university’s lost revenue if the bill were to be implemented has been estimated at $26 million. Western Carolina and UNC Pembroke together would need $37-38 million, said David McCord, a professor of clinical psychology at Western Carolina and the chair of the university’s Faculty Senate.
But faculty members have heard that funding from the state could total only $30 million for both Western Carolina and UNC Pembroke, McCord said. The numbers might work if the portion of the legislation capping tuition for out-of-state students is removed, but it’s not clear whether that is in legislators’ plans, McCord said.
McCord also expressed reservations about the tuition cap only being placed on two universities. The original proposal could be seen as an attempt to improve university access at institutions in different parts of North Carolina, he said. Western Carolina and UNC Pembroke are on opposite sides of the state, but the bill would still affect fewer points on the map.”
While many at the two schools have confined their activities on the proposal thus far to watchful waiting, others are speaking out directly against the legislation in its current form. A petition started by a UNCP alum that expresses opposition has already garnered more than 800 signatures. The petition argues that the legislation “would result in a decrease in the quality of education, programs and departments being removed, athletics losing funding, and eventually financial destruction of the University causing it to close.”
It concludes this way:
“Today, The University of North Carolina at Pembroke has approximately 6,200 students from diverse backgrounds. The University offers 41 undergraduate programs and 18 graduate programs. Many people have benefited from UNC-Pembroke’s academic programs and rich American Indian Heritage. This school has served and is still serving many 1st generation college graduates and sending out some NC’s finest teachers and Nurses into the workforce.
Many Students, Alumni and even faculty do not agree with this bill and demand that UNC-Pembroke be removed. Please give the people who love this university a chance to have input on this matter.”
Given the high profile removal that took place with respect to the three HBCU’s that were in the original version of the bill, it’s difficult to imagine that the General Assembly will push this proposal through to become law if significant opposition emerges at UNCP and Western.