May 11

Access to Affordable College Education Act Filed in Senate

APODACA2

A bill filed in the Senate Tuesday would make college far more affordable and accessible to students all across North Carolina.

The state Constitution requires the benefits of the University of North Carolina (UNC) system be extended to the people of the state as free of expense as possible. But the total cost of undergraduate tuition and fees in the UNC system has increased by 72 percent in the last 10 years, and the average debt of North Carolina students is $23,440 – up 52 percent since 2007-2008. The rapidly rising cost of college is a real burden on middle class families and recent college graduates. It can even prevent students from completing their degrees and entering the workforce, as a recent national study noted only 53 percent of college freshmen earn a bachelor’s degree within six years.

“College is a significant investment that leads to higher paying jobs, a better-skilled workforce and stronger local economies, but escalating costs and rising student debt are threatening the value of that investment,” said Sen. Tom Apodaca (R-Henderson), the bill’s sponsor. “That’s why we are committed to making college more accessible and affordable, strengthening our universities to make them more competitive and encouraging our students to complete their degrees in four years.”

 The Access to Affordable College Education Act would:

  • Guarantee no in-state tuition or fee increases for a standard undergraduate college term at all North Carolina public universities, not only providing certainty to families who are budgeting for college costs and taxpayers who heavily subsidize tuition, but also incentive to students to complete their degrees on time. This tuition guarantee would also apply to active members of the military based in North Carolina.
  • Lower student fees – often used to fund non-academic expenses – at all North Carolina public universities between 10 and 25 percent and limit future increases to no more than 3 percent per academic year.
  • Lower tuition at select universities located in every geographic corner of the state to $500 per semester for in-state students and $2,500 per semester for out-of-state students, ensuring all North Carolinians have an affordable option close to home. It would also help attract new students to universities with lower enrollment, make the schools more stable and competitive and stimulate struggling regional economies that sometimes transcend the state’s borders. The reduced tuition would apply to the following schools beginning in the Fall of 2018:
    • Elizabeth City State University
    • Fayetteville State University
    • University of North Carolina at Pembroke
    • Winston-Salem State University
    • Western Carolina University
  • Study the impact of modifying the cap on out-of-state students onacademic strength and competitiveness, enrollment and the regional economies at the following schools:
    • Elizabeth City State University
    • Fayetteville State University
    • University of North Carolina at Pembroke
    • Winston-Salem State University
    • Western Carolina University
  • Study the impact of each university’s name on the institution’s academic strength, enrollment and diversity. The Board of Governors may make recommendations on any potential changes to the legislature.
  • Establish merit scholarships at N.C. A&T University and N.C. Central University.

Paid by the North Carolina Republican Party 1506 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, NC 27605