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University Officials Praise House Budget

5/28/2010
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University Officials Praise House Budget

Raleigh, N.C.-- North Carolina Independent College and University officials praised education budget leaders in the House of Representatives today for funding student aid and enrollment growth in all sectors of higher education.

Dr. Jerry E. McGee, president of Wingate University and chair of NCICU, representing the state’s 36 private colleges and universities, said budget writers in the House recognize the importance of funding the two items.

“I want to thank the North Carolina House of Representatives for supporting financial aid programs for the 37,000 North Carolina students attending independent colleges and universities, as well as for the students attending our community colleges and state universities,” McGee said.

“Every day we have students asking for more financial aid because their moms or dads have just been laid off and they may have to drop out of college. Maintaining this state financial aid can make the difference between a college graduate and a college drop out.”

The General Assembly provides an average appropriation of over $13,000 for each public university student. That compares to an average of $3,200 in aid for each full-time, in-state student attending a private college or university in the state, saving taxpayers over $10,000 for each student. If the state had to educate those 37,000 students in the public university system, it would cost taxpayers an additional $400 million, plus hundreds of millions more for new buildings.

The House Appropriations Committee is recommending the state fund the grants for a projected enrollment increase at private colleges and universities of $4.5 million. Also recommended is an additional $126 million for enrollment growth in the community colleges, and over $59 million in the UNC System.

Dr. A. Hope Williams, president of NCICU, said thousands of North Carolina parents of college students will be grateful that the General Assembly funded the enrollment growth and aid programs in all three sectors of higher education.

“This is such a challenging budget year,” Williams said. “There were no easy decisions for legislators to make, and all education sectors are suffering from budget constraints. I think legislators have been as fair in appropriating limited resources as they could be,” she concluded.