Teamwork needed to fund UNC system

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As supporters of the University of North Carolina system have pointed out many times, the N.C. Constitution spells out the state’s responsibility toward funding UNC campuses – that a higher education should be as close to free as possible.

For the most part, the N.C. General Assembly has followed that directive to the letter.

At one time, the state paid as much as 80 percent of the cost of educating every in-state student in the public university system. Today, the state’s share of a student’s college tuition is closer to 66 percent.

Comparatively speaking, UNC-Chapel Hill and a handful of other schools in the UNC system remain high on national lists of best college educations for the money.

But with education costs soaring each year, North Carolina lawmakers and educators have to be creative about cutting costs and finding ways to keep higher education affordable, particularly for in-state students.

Peter Hans, chairman of the UNC Board of Governors, has said he doesn’t favor a tuition increase in the next year at any of the UNC system’s 16 campuses.

That’s welcome news to students and parents.

“We need a combination of continued public investment and more efficient university operations to keep tuition low and the quality of education high,” Hans told the Triangle Business Journal.

North Carolina is better served by a working partnership between legislators and the UNC Board of Governors.

A commitment from both parties will go a long way toward keeping a college education affordable for in-state students -- and toward fulfilling the state’s responsibilities spelled out in the N.C.