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UNCW trustees approve tuition hike

WILMINGTON, NC (UNCW NEWS RELEASE) — Determined to maintain a high quality academic experience in the face of decreasing state financial support, the University of North Carolina Wilmington Board of Trustees today approved a 6.5 percent tuition increase for the 2012-13 academic year. Fee increases were held to $9.50 for all students.

In addition, UNC system universities were permitted in this year’s guidelines to recommend a “peer alignment” adjustment for student tuition. Applied over multiple years, this adjustment is designed to move each UNC institution to the top of the bottom quartile of its national peer institutions, as approved by the UNC Board of Governors. UNCW’s proposed 2012-13 peer-alignment increase amounts to $390.35 for N.C. undergraduate students and $300 for out-of-state undergraduate students.

If approved by the UNC Board of Governors, total annual tuition and fee increases for the 2012-13 year, including both the 6.5 percent annual increase and the first-year peer alignment, are in the amounts of:
• $609.50 for in-state undergraduate students
• $809.50 for out-of-state undergraduate students
• $246.29 for in-state graduate students
• $509.50 for out-of-state graduate students

UNCW will focus revenue created through the increase in the following areas:
• Set aside 25 percent of annual tuition revenue for financial aid, as prescribed by the UNC Board of Governors guidelines
• Lessen the negative impact of increasing class size and course section limitations
• Fully implement programs in University Studies and Applied Learning to prepare students for the 21st century global economy
• Support signature academic programs, including marine sciences, nursing, creative writing and international studies, among others, that are central to UNCW’s core mission
• Restore hours of operation and increase funding for Randall Library resources
• Increase academic advising capacity to assist students in meeting academic requirements, keeping UNCW’s retention and graduation rates among the highest in the UNC system.
• Provide additional support to initiatives that increase the population of diverse students and faculty on our campus and contribute to student success.
• Lend additional essential support to graduate programs, key to providing students with significant research opportunities.

During the past several years, efforts by UNCW administrators focused on protecting the academic experience, absorbing state reductions through cuts to non-instructional support operations. By the current year, this approach was no longer possible without threatening critical university operations. Therefore, UNCW’s 2011-12 legislative reduction of 15.8 percent, or approximately $16.5 million, resulted in additional administrative cuts as well as unavoidable direct reductions of more than $7 million in instructional funds, nearly $1.8 million in academic support and more than $1 million to the library budget. Losses included:
• 78.89 faculty positions
• 558 course sections
• 16,609 “seats” in the classroom for students

“Unfortunately, given the magnitude of the current year reductions, the core academic program has been seriously impacted,” said Chancellor Gary L. Miller. “We must focus on restoring funding for our highest priority academic needs. While the proposed tuition increase will replace less than half of the university’s loss in state funding, it will help us restore lost faculty positions, course sections, library services and student support services—all critical to student success.”

UNCW’s only fee increase of the 2012-13 academic year is a $9.50 fee for the Student Health Center, which will be used to purchase appointment software to reduce student wait time and to provide additional funding for a pharmacist position. While under the Board of Governors guidelines, UNCW could have requested up to $109.28 in new mandatory fees, university administrators chose to keep student fees to an absolute minimum.

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