UNC’s hold on tuition hike welcome news

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A college degree is vital for many jobs in today’s changing economy, which is one reason why state leaders should do everything in their power to keep college costs to a minimum.

It’s unfair to burden students and their families with extensive debt simply so students can earn a college degree.

We were pleased to hear that North Carolina’s public university system was working on a budget for next year that would include no tuition increases for in-state undergraduates and would raise fees by an average less than any time during the past five years.

The Associated Press reported last week that the University of North Carolina’s governing board was weighing a plan that would include no increase in tuition for the 2014-15 academic year. That would be a step in the right direction toward showing support for students and parents who have faced significant college cost increases during recent years.

Since 2007-08, UNC campuses have increased average tuition by 55 percent, according to the Associated Press. Not to mention the cost of fees, books, housing and other expenses that students when going to college.

The state’s constitution charges the N.C. General Assembly with providing the benefits of the University of North Carolina and other public higher education institutions to residents of the state free of expense “as far as practicable.”

Keeping tuition rates the same next year would help in meeting that goal by helping to ensure that every student who has a desire to go to college is more likely to be able to afford to further his or her education. In turn, being able to afford college helps students to gain skills and knowledge that will enable them to contribute to our state in the future. Therefore, it’s important for our state to do more to help rein in tuition and fee costs at public colleges and universities.