The UNC Two-Step Program

The folks at NC Policy Watch have been on fire lately, with today's column by Chris Fitzsimon laying out some tough-love for the University of North Carolina System. I hope our friend Erskine Bowles will find some time to read the ideas Chris outlined, two of which seem like no-brainers to me.

Step 1: Rescind the tuition break passed last year that allows out-of-state athletes to pay in-state tuition. That's good for a cool $10 million.

Step 2: Eliminate current taxpayer subsidies for wealthy families with students attending private colleges and universities. That'll shake loose $55 million ... not chump change either.

There you go, Erskine. $65 million ... and it didn't cost you a nickel.


Awww come on

at least somebody could say "nice stool."


Nice Stool!

And it even has 2 steps - perfect graphic to get the point across.

I think in-state tuition should be zero (it's in our constitution) and apply to in-state students AND to out of state students the UNC system would like to attract - whether athletic or academic superstar.

The back-end subsidy for private universities smells too much like vouchers and with similar effects of benefit for those that probably do not need it. In fact, pro-voucher folks for K-12 often use this as an example of how our state already does the equivalent of vouchers after high school. I am OK with some incentives to make NC private higher education excellent, however this seems to be a poor way to really target support for those institutions.

Ed Ridpath

Agree with the second, not the first

out-of-state athletes aren't paying that money, we are. They all have scholarships which come from some kind of funding. If alumni funding is used to pay it, then taxpayer dollars will be used to pay for the new uniforms, stadium additions, etc.

PLUS, out-of-state athletes at some places, like UNC, make money. Should Tyler Hansbrough pay out of state tuition when he has probably made several million dollars in properties for UNC?

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

I agree.

And, as a business, the students should be paid. Joe Paterno often mentions that when he played in the 40s students were given laundry and pizza money for playing college football.

Why not a modern day equivalent. You can get paid 15 hours a week to work on the student paper, but not to play football?

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

The private university grant should stay

I went to public schools, graduated from public high school (T.W. Andrews! Go Raiders!) and was admitted to Davidson College. I got a tuition grant from the State of North Carolina. My parents paid state taxes just like the parents of the people who went to UNC. The state chooses to encourage its citizens to go to college by providing a top-notch University system and by supporting the superb private institutions that are located here. All of those institutions graduate educated people who are likely to stay in North Carolina and work, raise families, pay taxes, make the world a better place.

Complaining about the size of the endowments of those private institutions sounds like sour grapes to me.

I don't hear Chris complaining about the medical advances made by Duke and Wake Forest at their Medical Schools and the attached hospitals. Davidson alone provided more positive press for the State of North Carolina in March last year than every state school combined.

I think it is a smart policy that encourages students to stay in state and supports institutions that contribute immensely to the state. It is NOT the same as vouchers for elementary and secondary schools which are designed to siphon off students from and destroy the public schools. The public universities are not in danger of having students stolen from them.

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire

I'd like to ask for clarification

The header post calls for the elimination of the grant "to wealthy families who send their children toprivate universities."

Are you characterizing all students at private universities as wealthy? Or are you saying that the grant should be need-based?

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire

In this circumstance, I don't.

It's not a need program. It's an incentive to stay in North Carolina and a reward to those institutions for being in North Carolina.

I understood that when I was a teacher's kid enrolling at Davidson (and would have gotten it whether it was need based or not), and I understand it even more now.

NC benefits a GREAT deal by the presence of Duke, Wake, Campbell, Davidson, Elon, HPU, Shaw, St. Augs, Guilford, etc. It benefits even more when its top high school students decide to stay in North Carolina to be educated.

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire

You're making a case

that well-to-do students are staying in NC to attend Duke because they get $8,000 in state help against a $200,000+ four year tab?

Those institutions aren't going anywhere.


I'm making a case that all North Carolina students get support towards their college education. Period. You can go to Chapel Hill and get a $30,000 a year education for a few thousand bucks, or you can go to a private college and get a few thousand bucks towards a $30,000 a year education.

I hardly think that puts UNC at a competitive disadvantage, but it does provide a benefit to North Carolina taxpayers whose children attend school in the state.

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire

I know what you're arguing for

but I don't quite see that you're "making a case." In any other arena, wouldn't your position on tuition support for wealthy students be considered grossly regressive?

In the abstract, it all sounds well and good. In an environment where programs are being cut in community colleges, with positions going unfilled throughout the system, the approach seems nothing short of nonsensical.


No, James. Because I am not taking from people at the same rate regardless of income.

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire

You make a good point.

It provides a benefit to those folks who have raised there kids here, paid their taxes here, but whose kids get into Duke, Wake, DAvidson instead of UNC-CH, UNC-C, UNC-G, UNC-W, UNC-P, UNC-A, etc. I guess deep down I feel like "Well, tough." Like, if you want to go to the private school that costs $50K a year, why should you get taxpayer money to do so. BUT, your point is that all those folks who send their kids to UNC GET that money, so why shouldn't your kids.

On the other hand, PO-TATE-OH. Versus, you know, POE-TAT-O.

What about those folks who never have kids and complain they shouldn't have to pay property taxes? Or, people with vacation homes out in Onslow county that are upset they have such high property taxes? Based on this thinking, those old folks without kids shouldn't pay property taxes and those folks who have a vacation home on the beach should pay 10/52nds (or however many weeks they spend there) as much as someone who lives there full time.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

I don't see the connection in your last paragraph

Personally, people that have big ass houses on barrier islands should pay HIGHER taxes if they only live there 10/52d of the time. At least the full time resident is contributing to the community, rather than building a resource-sucking hotel under another name.

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire

Paying for what you use.

You are saying that parents pay their taxes, so their kids should get back their share of higher education dollars. I'm saying if that is true, then shouldn't the converse be true - if you use less, you should pay less. People who live at the beach only 10 weeks of the year should not have to pay as much in property tax as someone who lives there and sends their kids to the local schools. After all, they aren't using the schools. Same with garbage pickup, road repair, parks & rec, basically any government spending. Paying for what you use = using what you pay for.

If you retire to Chapel Hill in a couple years with your big lawyer pension, should you have to pay our ridiculously high taxes? Which, BTW, have just now priced our family out of our house - that's another story. If your kids aren't using the schools, why should you have to pay for them?

Speaking of schools, if you want to send your kids to a Evangelical high school, shouldn't you get a voucher? After all, you pay property taxes and property taxes are used to pay for schools.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

Does not apply to elementary and secondary ed

Why? Because I choose to draw the line there.

I have no pension. I used to have a 401k (no matching). That's another story.

And yes, if I live in a town or own property there, I expect to pay the taxes levied by the electorate. We all benefit from the public schools, unless you enjoy illiterate neighbors.

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire

And I'm not claiming any moral fairness dimension here

I simply see it as a wise and justifiable policy. In the context of wastes of money in the state budget, it ain't a big one, and very arguably returns benefits.

I am not making the fairness argument you allude to, but the fact is, these are North Carolinians getting this money and it is going to North Carolina institutions. I think the animosity towards private universities is a bit misplaced (and I note your mentioning of Duke and Davidson, but not St. Augs, or St. Andrews, which are struggling and can use every dime.)

Davidson, I will note, pledges that no student will graduate in debt. There are no loans at Davidson, so the $8,000 does in fact help, even at an expensive place like DC.

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire

I wasn't aware

that any of the schools I mentioned were male only.

I might actually have a problem with public money going to an institution which discriminates based upon race or gender.

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire

Hugs and kisses DFL

Me senses you're taking my banter the wrong way.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.