The UNC System has seen much change recently – from a new chairman to the UNC Board of Governors to a new Chancellor at their flagship campus, UNC Chapel Hill. However, one thing is not changing: tuition and fees. This week, JLF’s Dominic Coletti wrote a research brief on the subject. Coletti writes:

While the majority of university faculty believe that online teaching is inferior to in-person instruction and invites academic fraud, UNC students now face a fall semester without the advantages of in-class instruction. Given this change, will students pay less? The answer appears to be no.

Coletti explained the tension on the Board of Governors over the decision:

On July 23, the UNC Board of Governors voted to keep the current tuition and fee schedule “regardless of any changes to instructional format that may occur for any part of the [2020-2021] academic year.” Some board members pushed back against the motion, claiming that it was inappropriate to keep charging fees for services that students are prohibited from fully utilizing.

Coletti explains students’ frustrations with a business-as-usual tuition model for the fall semester:

It is counterintuitive for schools not only to continue billing students for certain services while refusing to provide them but also to not refund any fees that were not used for their designated purpose. As such, students are rightfully upset over the fact they must pay for their professor’s lavish salaries (see image below), hordes of administrative personnel, and services they’ll never use while struggling to support themselves financially throughout this COVID-19 crisis.

When we polled our Twitter followers, over 95% of respondents believed tuition should go down this fall.

To participate in more of our polls, follow the John Locke Foundation on Twitter here.

Read Coletti’s full brief here. Read more about higher education funding from JLF policy analyst, Joe Coletti here.