Tuition increases to affect out-of-state students

by Stephen Case – [email protected] – Staff Writer
UNC Asheville students can expect to see an increase in either tuition or fees for the upcoming school year after a vote by the University of North Carolina governing board next month.
“I am paying so much money right now. When you are talking about already paying $27,000, this is going to affect me a lot,” said Carolina Arias, a sophomore at UNCA and a Costa Rica native.
The board of governors for the 17-campus University of North Carolina school system discussed the proposal at a meeting on Jan. 9 and will vote on it on Feb. 21.
While waiting to hear the fate of the other UNC school system schools, UNCA students already know the extra expenses they will encounter going forward because of a tuition and fees plan that was approved unanimously by the university’s board of trustees at its Dec. 6 meeting.
According to university officials, tuition will hold steady for the 2014-15 academic year with in-state students at UNCA. Tuition will remain $3,666 per semester for undergraduate in-state students, while out-of-state students will be affected by the increase.
UNCA officials said tuition will rise 6 percent for out-of-state students. A total of $1,049 in costs brings the non-resident tuition rate for undergraduates to $18,537 annually. In-state students’ general and debt service fees will increase by $151.
“It’s hard to find a solution that works for everyone,” said Cynthia Vargas, a senior at UNCA.
The small fees increase for in-state students includes an education and technology fee, a student health fee, an athletic fee and a debt service fee, according to UNCA officials.
Students like Arias said they already feel they pay too much as an out-of-state student and additional fees only add more stress to an already stressed-out college student.
“I will have to be working a lot more,” Arias said. “I think I will have to change a few things, like expenses outside of college.”
Arias said she didn’t receive any scholarship money, but her situation may not reflect everyone’s experience.
“I applied for the Laurels Scholarship and was turned down. It really made me mad because I had a 3.8 GPA in high school,” Arias said.
Officials in the admissions and financial aid offices said they are determined to help students find a solution to this growing issue.
“At this time, there will be no charges in admissions in regards to a tuition increase, and we will continue to recruit students in the same manner,” said Shannon Earle, senior director of admissions and financial aid.
Even with the increases, UNCA ranks as one of the nation’s best values in public universities. According to “Kiplinger’s Personal Finance” magazine, UNCA places sixth in lowest total cost of attending for in-state students and eighth lowest average debt among graduates in North Carolina.
Arias said she doesn’t understand why the school is spending so much money doing renovation work on the campus when it already looks good.
“I don’t see a lot of difference,” Arias said. “The caf is getting completely renovated, too.”
Even with the extra tuition costs, students said they wonder if their education is being hindered by budget cuts. Vargas said she noticed a drop off for the last year in the amount of classes offered in her program, while at the same time, she sees an increase in the number of students in her classes.
“It seems like the teachers are getting more classes than before,” Vargas said. “I noticed in my management classes before, there were like 13 or 14 students. Now there are like 20 or more.”