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UNC System schools to continue in-state tuition freeze

The UNC System will continue its in-state tuition freeze for a fifth year, the system office announced Thursday.

The move comes as part of the “Higher Expectations” strategic plan adopted in 2016, which set goals for improving affordability, access, student success, economic impact and diversity. Three years in, a new report shows the system meeting or exceeding nine of the 12 metrics set as part of the five-year plan.

“When the University of North Carolina System adopted this strategic plan in 2016, no one could have predicted the COVID-19 pandemic or the difficulties our state would face as a result,” said UNC System President Peter Hans in a statement Thursday. “In today’s economy, many North Carolinians are seeking opportunities to rebuild their careers, their health, and their community. This report shows how our University is clearing pathways and helping residents meet those goals. I applaud our chancellors, faculty, and staff for their hard work toward this cause.”

UNC Board of Governors Chairman Randy Ramsey said the freeze is particularly important as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

UNC System President Peter Hans.

“In these times of trial, it’s easy to lose sight of the long game,” Ramsey said in a statement Thursday. “But even with the emergencies and distractions, we haven’t taken our eye off the ball. Our universities are multitasking, making tremendous progress as they balance priorities and manage public health and safety.”

“Our System-wide tuition freeze reinforces the board’s commitment to keep college costs low,” Ramsey said. “We are also grateful to the General Assembly for helping us reduce the financial burden on our students. Together, we will ensure people from every corner of this state can afford a world-class education.”

Thursday’s announcement doesn’t mean students won’t see any increases.

Nonresident undergraduate tuition will increase by an average of 1.2 percent for the 2021-22 academic year while out-of-state graduate student tuition will increase by an average 3.9 percent tuition increase.

Student fees, which are not part of the tuition freeze, will increase system-wide by an average of 2.2 percent.

Resident undergraduates will pay an average $6,553 in tuition and fees. Out-of-state undergraduates will pay an average $20,194 in tuition and fees. Those don’t include the costs of room, board, books and other campus-related expenses.

In-state tuition at UNC’s three NC Promise schools –Elizabeth City State University, UNC Pembroke, and Western Carolina University —  will remain at $1,000 annually, as it has since the affordable tuition program began in 2018. Out-of-state students will pay $2,500 per semester at those schools.

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