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1-7-13-NCPW-CARTOONThis morning’s Winston-Salem Journal lays it out pretty clearly in an editorial on the matter of funding for the University of North Carolina. The paper says it is time for Gov. McCrory to stand up to his budget director and conservative political moneybags, Art Pope (who has launched a new and public effort to forestall needed growth in university spending).

This is from the editorial:

“Pope, who has his own conservative political constituency, has long been a UNC critic. The UNC operations request alone is for 4.6 percent. And while Pope had instructed state agencies to keep increase requests to 2 percent or less, the university’s response must be considered in historical context.

Over the last five years, the UNC operational budget has been cut by hundreds of millions of dollars. UNC officials have found efficiencies to cover some of those lost funds, but they’ve also weakened the education they deliver.

Additionally, students have been hit with big tuition and fee increases while state funding has dropped. All of this in a state where the constitution guarantees a university education that is as close to free as is ‘practicable’…. Read More

Young undocumented immigrants who received temporary reprieve from deportation under a federal deferred-action plan aren’t entitled to in-state tuition for North Carolina’s universities and community colleges, lawyers for N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper wrote in an advisory letter yesterday.

Assistant attorney generals Alexander Peters and Kimberly Potter were responding to an inquiry from state Rep. Marcus Brandon, a High Point Democrat. Deferred-action, called DACA, was granted to immigrants in 2012 who came to the country as children and are now able to apply to reside and work in the country provided they have a clear criminal records and have pursued an education or served honorably in the military.

In the letter, Peters and Potter  wrote that immigrants that fall under the deferred-action plan (DACA) don’t meet the residency requirement that North Carolina uses.

That could change if the N.C. General Assembly changes the residency requirement. The letter noted that Brandon had sponsored legislation that did not pass last year that would have done that.

“In order for students who have been granted DACA status to be eligible for the benefit of in-state tuition, the North Carolina General Assembly would have to amend (the law) to make an exception for such individuals, change the residency requirements, or otherwise proved by law that individuals with DACA classification are, under such circustances as may be set by statute, eligible for in-state tuition,” Cooper wrote.

Fifteen states do offer in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants, according to the National Council for State Legislatures.

Agda CA Letter by NC Policy Watch

 

 

The board of governors for the 17-campus University of North Carolina system will decide next month if it wants to freeze in-state tuition and reject some of the tuition increases the legislature mandated for out-of-state students in this year’s budget.

Click here for a detailed overview in the News & Observer of the tuition proposal.

The UNC Board of Governors, who discussed the proposals at a meeting Thursday, will also vote on system-wide2014-15 budget recommendations (click here to see) at their meeting next month, on Feb. 21. The proposal also seeks to reverse an estimated $7.8 million in discretionary cuts called for by the legislature.

Tom Ross, the UNC system president, spoke with reporters after Friday morning’s meeting, said  continual cuts to the university system isn’t sustainable.

“What’s the breaking point when it begins to affect quality?,” Ross asked. “There are times now that we’re hearing from students that they can’t get the course they need. We have to be sure we’re protecting quality as well.”   Read More

With May settling in, we take a look back at a few moments in the past month of politics and policy issues that really affected North Carolinians: From budget cuts that leave schools with fewer resources to President Obama visiting UNC, to the distracting “culture war” that the General Assembly has thrown at North Carolinians. We’ve compiled these and other moments in the brief video below:

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What are some progressive policy issues you can think of from the past month relating to the state of things in North Carolina? Share with us in the comments.
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UNC President Tom Ross will find his skills as a negotiator tested this week when the Board of Governors convenes to deliberate in-state tuition increases for all UNC-system schools.

Ross must find a way to balance the needs of university chancellors and the protests of college students who say they are already struggling to cover the cost of tuition, books, and other required fees. At the same time, President Obama has suggested colleges that don’t rein in their tuition prices could see fewer federal financial aid dollars.

Friday’s vote on the unprecedented proposed tuition hike comes after the Republican-led legislature passed a budget that forced cuts of $414 million to the system’s 17 campuses.

And even as student body presidents are supporting Ross’ proposal to limit the increase on tuition and fees to an average 8.8 percent, the system will face another round of cuts next year.

Ross tells N.C. Policy Watch the biennium budget calls for an additional $10 million in reductions and allocates no new money for enrollment growth.

To hear UNC System President Tom Ross discuss the budget crunch with Chris Fitzsimon, click below. You can hear the full radio interview from News & Views here.
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