The N.C. House of Representatives released portions of its budget Thursday, and included several significant changes and some cuts for public higher education.
The entire budget – which is expected to fill in gaps about whether raises are in store for state employees and teachers – is expected to be released Monday, and voted on by the Republican-led House that week.
Senate Republican leaders have not announced when their version of the budget will be done.
Several significant changes were trotted out by House budget writers this week for the state’s public higher education system.
The House did fund expected growth in the system but also calls for $44.3 million over the next two years in management cuts and would roll out a program that would push academically weak college students into a community college program before gaining entry into the state’s four-year universities.
Drew Moretz, the University of North Carolina system’s vice-president for government affairs, said the House calls for fewer cuts than what Gov. Pat McCrory’s budget proposed.
“It’s a better starting point than what the governor had given us,” Moretz said.
The system as a whole has had $658 million in management cuts since 2008-09, he said.
The House budget would also, for the first time, allow low-income students to get scholarships to virtually attend Western Governors University, an online education program that’s been touted as a low-cost education option by groups like the conservative John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.
House lawmakers also want to delay more than 1,000 prospective students from attending the state’s public universities by requiring the UNC system to defer admissions to students who meet admissions standards but don’t have strong academic histories