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  1. #1
    Senior Member jp_48504's Avatar
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    Apr 2005

    Surging tuition may risk lawsuit

    Published: Aug 15, 2006 12:30 AM
    Modified: Aug 15, 2006 03:35 AM

    Surging tuition may risk lawsuits

    The UNC system's many increases may put it at odds with a legal mandate for free tuition, a study concludes

    Jane Stancill, Staff Writer

    Public university tuition has spiked so dramatically in recent years that UNC leaders are inviting a lawsuit, according to a new, wide-ranging analysis of how the UNC system is governed.

    Seven tuition increases in eight years, including a 71 percent increase for North Carolinians from 1999 to 2004, raise serious questions about whether the UNC system has run afoul of the state's constitutional mandate for free tuition "as far as practicable," says a report by the N.C. Center for Public Policy Research.

    "All it would take is one unhappy student or one unhappy parent to test that," said Ran Coble, director of the independent, nonpartisan research center, adding that the state has lost several big lawsuits in recent years.

    The center's 402-page report culminates five years of study on the governance of the 16-campus university system in North Carolina.

    It concludes that the basic structure of public higher education is sound but in need of a tuneup. The study calls on UNC leaders to get better control of big-time college sports and rid the UNC system of rampant political influence.

    The report says the governor should appoint three-fourths of the 32-member UNC Board of Governors to prevent the politicking and campaign contributions by people seeking seats. The report points out that only North Carolina and New York have statewide university boards elected entirely by their legislatures.

    UNC board candidates contributed $425,720 to legislators in a recent five-year period, according to the report.

    "Though I don't think it's true that you can buy a seat on the board, it looks that way to the public," Coble said Monday, adding that the legislature has a poor record of electing women, minorities and members of both major political parties.

    Jim Phillips, chairman of the UNC Board of Governors, said changing the appointment method is up to the legislature. But he added, "You are not going to take politics out of the process."

    During the past few years, Phillips said, the board has tried to balance the state's low-tuition philosophy with the need for quality education during a recession.

    The study criticizes maverick moves by supporters of the two large research institutions -- N.C. State and UNC-Chapel Hill -- who have formed big-spending political action committees. In 2005, boosters sought the authority for the two campuses to set their own tuition. That political push was unsuccessful, but the UNC campuses were allowed to reclassify out-of-state scholarship recipients as in-state students, which will cost the state millions of dollars for athletes and scholars. I wonder if they do this for illegals

    The two institutions should not be allowed to break away from the UNC system or get special treatment, the report says. Coble said there is a myth that the two "flagship" campuses have suffered in a system that is sixth in the United States in higher education state spending and 11th in faculty salaries. "The fact is the 16-campus system has really benefited Chapel Hill and State in a major way," Coble said.

    Phillips said he's not worried about NCSU and UNC-CH trying to pull away. "I think that is a dead issue," he said.

    UNC President Erskine Bowles could not be reached for comment Monday. But last week, Bowles and the board began to plan for the educational needs of the state, including a collaboration with community colleges and K-12 leaders.

    That is one major recommendation of the report. The center also suggests that private colleges need to be active partners with UNC leaders in analyzing the state's needs.

    The report also takes a strong stance on athletics, calling for more accountability. The report urges the UNC board to adopt the recommendations of the national Knight Foundation Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, including barring teams from post-season play if they don't graduate at least 50 percent of players, and prohibiting uniforms with corporate logos for which coaches are paid.

    Coble pointed out that since 1953, seven UNC schools have been sanctioned for major infractions by the NCAA. East Carolina, N.C. Central and UNC-CH have each been sanctioned twice, the report says, while NCSU has been sanctioned five times.

    "It's pretty scary," Coble said. "We have a major scandal about every 12 to 15 years."

    Phillips said he wants to think more about the recommendations on athletics, and Coble admitted that it may be unrealistic to expect the board to muster the political will to change athletics.

    "It may take a scandal to move it," he said.
    Staff writer Jane Stancill can be reached at 956-2464 or
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  2. #2
    Senior Member nittygritty's Avatar
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    Apr 2006
    I am not sure but what our kids would not be better off if the rising tuition cost kept them from going to colleges to be indoctrinated by these far left radical professors they have so many of today! Not to say I don't feel that every child should have a college degree if that is what he or she wants, they are just getting so out there anymore I hate the thought of paying these idiots to cram this crap down our children and grandchildrens throats.
    Build the dam fence post haste!

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