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N.C. Opinions: Rocky Mount

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Funding UNC system

From an editorial in Sunday’s Rocky Mount Telegram:

If there’s a magic formula that will balance the quality of a University of North Carolina education against student tuition, financial aid and state tax dollars, no one has found it yet.

The N.C. Constitution mandates that the state legislature do everything it can to keep the costs of attending a school in the UNC system as close to free as possible. But that isn’t anything close to easy.

If the state takes on a bigger share of the cost, the burden falls upon us, the taxpayers. If legislators look for ways to cut the state’s commitment, the UNC Board of Governors has little choice but to ask for tuition increases. That burden falls upon the poor college kid and his or her family.

As we said, it isn’t easy.

In the meantime, UNC schools must compete on a global level for world-class professors and curricula. That takes money, too.

For all of those complications, the General Assembly and the UNC Board of Governors have done a pretty remarkable job.

Several schools in the UNC system are ranked among the best in the country. And despite the financial challenges outlined above, tuition at public universities in North Carolina is still in the cheapest quartile, nationwide.

No, it isn’t easy. But state residents have every reason to be proud of the UNC system – and of the efforts that have gone into making it as affordable as possible for homegrown students.

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