UNC system administrators discuss new options to close budget gaps
Updated: 04/12/2012 06:18 PM
By: Linnie Supall
CHAPEL HILL—Although they have agreed to raise tuition again, UNC system schools are still struggling with budget challenges.
School leaders are now looking at more budget cuts across the 17 campus system. The Board of Governor's discussed ideas to close the budget gaps Thursday. Financial woes and budget cuts are still a concern on all of the UNC campuses.
“The quality of our schools is reaching a tipping point and we're losing great faculty,” said East Carolina University Chancellor Steve Ballard.
It is an uphill battle school officials continue to fight. They are trying to maintain a high caliber of excellence on a tight budget.
“My main concern is that we may be doing that and saving money now, but are we producing quality students,” said student Arjay Quizon.
They are worried an increased workload for faculty could compromise the quality of their education. Some university chancellors say professors have begun to leave to accept more competitive offers elsewhere.
“The more faculty we lose and the fewer resources they have to be a great faculty, we know we can't do as much in the future if we get past that tipping point,” said Ballard.
One option the board discussed is a possible course load consolidation. In that scenario, multiple colleges would jointly offer degree programs if there's not enough student interest on a single campus. Chancellor Ballard said ECU has 60 programs that could be reduced to save resources.
It is a trend seen across the school system.
“There will be consequences and there will be pain, but this is what we have to do in order to best utilize our resources,” said UNC system president, Tom Ross.
However, the concern is growing for students who worry the value of their degree is at stake.
“We're paying through the nose to go to these schools. If we don't get our money's worth then maybe we'll have to look into another school,” said Quizon.
In February the Board of Governor's approved a tuition hike that averaged 9 percent for in-state undergrads next year. Last year, lawmakers cut more than $400 million to the UNC school budget.
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