The latest version of North Carolina’s budget proposal include tuition cuts for Elizabeth City State University and promises allocations to cover any revenue shortfalls in the coming year.
The budget, scheduled for vote today in the General Assembly and likely to be forwarded to North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory by the end of this week, makes in-state tuition at ECSU, Western Carolina University UNC-Pembroke $500 per semester for in-state students, and $2,500 for out-of-state students.
The budget also includes a “buy down” provision to protect institutions from financial collapse created by the lowered tuition. From the proposal:
“Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the State shall “buy down” the amount of any financial obligation resulting from the established tuition rate that may be incurred by Elizabeth City State University, the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, and Western Carolina University as provided by this subsection. Beginning with the 2018–2019 fiscal year, the Director of the Budget shall determine each fiscal year, based on information provided by the Board of Governors and the Chancellor of each constituent institution, the amount required to offset the forgone tuition receipts at each of the three institutions as a result of the tuition rate established by this section. The Director of the Budget shall authorize an increase in the base budget of The University of North Carolina of up to forty million dollars ($40,000,000) each fiscal year to cover the cost of the “buy down” that fiscal year and shall allocate the appropriate sum to each constituent institution.”
Reports surfaced over the weekend that another HBCU could have been included in the proposal, but Fayetteville State University and Winston-Salem State University, two schools at the forefront of student and alumni protest against SB873 and its tuition rebate plan, were left out of the final language.
The proposal also recommends a $250,000 marketing campaign to promote enrollment at ECSU, and approves the establishment of 50 merit-based scholarships for students attending North Carolina Central University and North Carolina A&T State University.