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Thoughts on Tuition

To NC State University students,

By now, you have probably heard the news that NC State plans to raise tuition for the 2010-11 academic year by $750, in addition to the already approved tuition increase of $150 for in-state undergraduates and $200 for all other students. I’m sure a tuition increase of this magnitude, especially so close to the beginning of the year, is not the news you wanted to hear.

North Carolina’s universities have taken $575 million in budget decreases over the last three years. NC State’s share of this year’s reduction is almost $20 million. Students, faculty and staff have all borne the burden of difficult budgetary times.

In meeting the state’s budget needs, the legislature had little choice but to reduce budgets for state-supported institutions and agencies. Recognizing that another deep budget cut would further threaten academic quality, the legislature gave the state’s universities the ability to raise tuition rates and use the dollars to slow the academic erosion.

In an ideal world, we would have other options. But the simple truth is that after another deep budget reduction, tuition is the only way to hold off another round of eliminating course sections and classroom seats. With fewer seats and class sections, your time to graduation would slow down. Many students already have felt the effects of last year’s budget reduction and have shared their frustrations with me.

But even a tuition increase of this size is no silver bullet. NC State will still see about a $3 million budget shortfall. Our promise is to continue to protect the academic core to the extent possible and continue to do all we can to ensure students have the opportunity to make steady progress toward graduation.

We also will continue to be strong partners with the state in job creation and economic development to help ensure that there will be jobs available for you when you graduate.

It is important to note that even with this increase, NC State’s tuition remains lower than all but one of the schools on its peer list – and in most cases, by a significant amount. In addition, we will honor our historical commitment by setting aside 20 percent of the increase for need-based financial aid.

I am sure you have questions, suggestions and comments on this matter. I hope you will take the time to look at the questions and answers and also submit your comments.

This is not an easy situation for anyone involved. I appreciate your patience and understanding as we try to navigate extraordinary economic times.

Randy Woodson
NC State University