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Supplemental tuition increase approved for Appalachian

BOONE—On July 14, UNC System President Erskine Bowles approved a $467.74 supplemental tuition increase for Appalachian State University students for the 2010-11 academic year.  In an effort to help the university protect the academic core and the quality of education offered to students, the North Carolina General Assembly authorized each UNC campus, subject to the president’s approval, to implement additional tuition increases up to $750.

According to information from Bowles’ office, the UNC system has absorbed budget cuts of $575 million during the past three years, while working to sustain high academic quality and to keep tuition as low as practicable. As a result, on every UNC campus, tuition and fee rates for North Carolinians are either the lowest or next to the lowest among its public peer institutions.

“I regret the university system is forced to utilize the legislature’s tuition increase; however, as President Bowles has stated, low cost tuition without high quality is no bargain for anyone,” said Chancellor Kenneth E. Peacock.  “I truly believe this increase is essential for Appalachian to be able to provide our students with the quality education for which are known.  Furthermore, given the widespread financial crisis, universities across the country need to be cautious about assuming states will be able to re-establish past support levels in the near future.”

“The supplemental tuition revenues will greatly benefit the academic core and help protect the quality of the classroom experience,” continued Peacock. “If we are to provide a quality education for all students, we must recruit and retain engaging, high-quality faculty and build nationally competitive academic and research programs. The supplemental tuition revenues will allow these important efforts to continue.”

The increase will offset approximately $5.5 million in cuts to Appalachian’s funding in the recently approved state budget.  It will also prevent the loss of 30 faculty positions and avoid a further reduction in funds for class and laboratory equipment and supplies, as well as maintenance contracts associated with classroom and laboratory equipment. Twenty percent of the increase will go to need-based financial aid.

SGA Vice President Nate Cook said that given the dire situation with the state budget he believed the increase was warranted. “Students never like to hear that there will be a tuition increase, but knowing that this will save faculty positions justifies this increase.”

“This has unfolded very quickly,” Peacock said. “Normally, we prefer to engage our campus in a more collaborative discussion about tuition, but that was not possible this time.”  However, both Appalachian’s Board of Trustees and the UNC Board of Governors were consulted.

With the increase, a full-time, in-state student will pay a total of $2,960.74 in tuition (excluding fees, and on–campus housing and meal plan costs) for the academic year.  “I remain confident that even with this increase, Appalachian remains one of the best values in public higher education,” concluded Peacock.