LUMBERTON — Tuition at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke is one step closer to being reduced to $500 per semester for in-state students.
The tuition cut is included in a budget compromise both the Senate and the House agreed to on Monday night, although both need to vote on the proposal before sending it to Gov. Pat McCrory for approval.
If adopted, the budget would lower tuition at UNCP, Elizabeth City State University and Western Carolina University as of fall 2018. Elizabeth City State University had previously been taken out of the bill amid backlash that the tuition cut would strangle funding for historically black schools listed in the proposal. It was added back in at the request of school officials, television station WRAL reported.
Out-of-state students would pay $2,500 per semester at the three schools. The measure also caps tuition at all UNC schools so that students pay the same rate throughout four years of enrollment.
UNCP Chancellor Robin Cummings has said he thinks the bill could benefit UNCP, but wants to make sure the funding lost by reducing tuition is replaced.
“My senior leadership team and I are reviewing the bill, in consultation with UNC General Administration. We plan to communicate with the campus community and the public later today after we have had an opportunity to assess how various aspects of the budget will impact UNC Pembroke,” Cummings said in a statement this morning.
The proposal has caused a local outcry on social media by critics who believe it will hurt UNCP because of lost funding. The budget authorizes the budget director to up funding for the schools to cover the tuition revenue loss.
The North Carolina Promise Tuition Plan originally also included Fayetteville State and Winston-Salem State as well, but following outcry from students, alumni and the North Carolina NAACP, Sen. Tom Apodaca, who sponsored the measure, removed them from the bill. Apodaca is an alumni of Western Carolina, which is affected by the bill.
The measure was intended to increase enrollment at struggling universities, although UNCP’s 2015-2016 freshman class was its largest yet.
According to UNCP ’s website, in-state students will pay a total tuition of $3,531 a year during the upcoming 2016-17 academic year. The cost for out-of-state students during the same year would total total $14,475.
The budget is on the Senate’s agenda for today.