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Our Value: An Update on Tuition

To NC State Faculty, Staff and Students,

As we near the close of this semester, we’ve reached the time of year when tuition and fees are on the minds of many. It’s important we remember that throughout 125 years, NC State has maintained our long tradition of offering a quality education at a reasonable price.  Providing a world-class educational opportunity that leads to long-term success remains our task; so must we remain committed to keeping that education as affordable as practical.

Throughout the semester, many conversations have taken place with students, faculty and staff regarding proposed increases to the cost of an NC State education. Two separate campus committees, the Tuition Review Advisory Committee (TRAC), co-chaired by Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Warwick Arden and Student Body President Andy Walsh, and the Fee Review Committee (FRC), co-chaired by Vice Chancellor and Dean for Academic and Student Affairs Mike Mullen and Student Senate President Regan Gatlin, were appointed to lead these discussions and develop tuition and fee recommendations. The recommendations from each committee were forwarded to me for consideration. I want to thank both committees for their diligence, dedication to detail and a job well done.

This year I have recommended the Board of Trustees adopt all of the TRAC and FRC recommendations with two exceptions. In the case of in-state undergraduate and graduate tuition I recommended a smaller tuition increase from what was requested. While the TRAC recommended a $374 tuition increase for in-state undergraduate students and $748 increase for graduate students, I have recommended a $290 increase for both undergraduate and graduate residents and a $580 increase for both undergraduate and graduate non-residents.  For those fees subject to the Board of Governors’ 6.5 percent cap, the increase is 5.7 percent and the overall fee increase will be 6.3 percent. A little more than 62 percent of the tuition increase will improve quality and accessibility by adding seats and sections. About 25 percent of the tuition increase will support need-based financial aid. A little less than 9 percent will provide funding to the graduate student support plan, and a little more than 4 percent will support promotional increases for faculty.

When considering the current economic climate, it is clear that the budget shortfalls faced by state governments around the country reflect the financial challenges facing families across our state and nation. Consequently, NC State remains committed to keeping our doors open to those qualified students with the desire to succeed. Successfully achieving the delicate balance between quality and affordability requires resourceful leadership, efficient operations and effective management of our resources, which is exactly how we have responded to navigate the fiscal turbulence of recent years. And things are looking up. Through the hard work of the legislature, NC State has avoided any further reductions to our budget, a result of our resiliency and ability to develop sustainable strategies that adapt to tumultuous change.

The results are evident. U.S. News and World Report continues to rank us as a Top Value in public higher education. And for the first time, we have been cited as one of the nation’s top “up-and-coming universities,” a nod to our upward trajectory as well as innovative and bold maneuvering of the university. Our strategic plan has helped us identify long-term solutions to budget challenges, while in the meantime positioning us for increased efficiency and effectiveness. As we move forward, we must dedicate ourselves to pursuing the growth of our endowment, increasing financial aid opportunities and maintaining costs for our students that do not obstruct an equitably affordable educational opportunity. While it is critical to our mission that we do not sacrifice quality, it is intrinsic to our nature as a land-grant institution that we remain accessible to those with the ability and motivation to pursue a degree.

Today, the Board of Trustees approved my recommendations, which will now be forwarded to the Board of Governors for consideration. These recommendations reflect our needs as a growing university and our spirit as a public land-grant institution, responsible for serving the state of North Carolina. Thank you to all who have participated in this process. I look forward to continuing these conversations in the days, months and years ahead.


Randy Woodson
NC State University