Kierra Leggett | Editor-in-Chief
Tom Ross, President of the University of North Carolina proposed an amended version of the University’s policy for setting aside need-based financial aid at the August 9, University of North Carolina Board of Governors’ meeting.
Ross’ plan, if approved by the board, would require UNC campuses to set aside no more than 25 percent of the funds they incur from increased tuition for disbursement of financial aid to needy students. Under stipulations of the current policy, UNC campuses are required to set aside a minimum of 25 percent of revenue generated from tuition increases for need-based financial aid.
Board members in favor of the proposed cap, chiefly its republican members, argue that the current policy places a “hidden tax” on middle and higher-income students that are receiving little-to-no financial aid. They also argue that the current policy is not “transparent” enough. Ross defended his proposal saying, “ If this isn’t right, vote it down, and I’ll be fine.”
Franklin McCain, who has served on the UNC Board of Governors since 2009, opposes the approval of the proposed cap. McCain, who was also a member of the Greensboro Four that staged the famous sit-in at the Woolworth counter, spoke out against the proposed policy saying, “When we reduce the funds, you know who gets squeezed out of the educational equation. You already know that. I think rather than trying to be exclusive, we ought to be looking for ways to keep these folk in the system.”
Krista Domnick, Director of the N.C. State Office of Scholarship and Financial Aid, reported that as of July 2012, 68 percent of enrolled undergraduate degree seeking N.C. State students had applied for financial aid for the 2011-2012 academic year. 52 percent of enrolled undergraduate degree seeking students had demonstrated financial need and of that 52 percent, approximately 12.5 percent were African American.
Regarding the effects the approval of this policy would have on N.C. State students, Domnick said, “Traditionally, N.C. State has been generous in providing support to needy students by keeping tuition low and allocating a portion of tuition receipts to need-based financial aid purposes. On occasion, N.C. State has allocated more than 25 percent to this purpose. A 25 percent maximum cap would prohibit N.C. State from providing additional resources to need based financial aid, even if N.C. State students and administrators identified that as a priority for the campus. As support for need-based financial aid is reduced, students and parents often attempt to fill the gap with increased borrowing.”
Voting for the proposed policy will likely take place on September 14.