Bill Summary for S 873 (2015-2016)

Summary date: 

May 12 2016

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2015-2016 Session
Senate Bill 873 (Public) Filed Tuesday, May 10, 2016
AN ACT TO IMPLEMENT VARIOUS POLICY CHANGES DESIGNED TO MAKE PUBLIC HIGHER EDUCATION MORE AFFORDABLE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE STATE CONSTITUTIONAL MANDATE THAT THE BENEFITS OF PUBLIC HIGHER EDUCATION, AS FAR AS PRACTICABLE, BE EXTENDED TO THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE FREE OF EXPENSE.
Intro. by Apodaca.

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Bill summary

Includes whereas clauses concerning higher education.

Enacts new GS 116-143.9 establishing a fixed tuition and fees payment program available to freshmen or transfer undergraduate students admitted to any constituent institution of The University of North Carolina deemed to be a state resident for tuition purposes. Requires that the program guarantee that the cost of tuition and the cost of fees will remain constant or decrease during the tuition period. Sets the tuition period depending on the level of degree sought or transfer status. Requires the student to remain enrolled continuously at the constituent institution during the entire tuition period. Specifies that at the end of the tuition period, the cost of tuition for any additional academic semesters reverts to the amount of the current tuition for that constituent institution and a tuition surcharge imposed under GS 116‑143.7, if applicable. Allows the fixed tuition and fee payment program to be tolled if the student is able to demonstrate a substantial disruption or interruption in the student's pursuit of a degree as provided in GS 116‑143.7(c). Requires the UNC Board of Governors to adopt the policies needed to implement this statute and determine what the fixed tuition and fee payment rates and the tuition periods shall be. Effective when the act becomes law and applies to freshmen and transfer students who enroll at a constituent institution beginning with the 2016 fall academic semester.

Requires the UNC Board of Governors and the Board of Trustees at each constituent institution to reduce student fees by specified amounts beginning with the 2018 fall academic semester. Specifies that after making the initial fee reduction, a constituent institution may increase student fees by no more than 3% per academic year.

Requires the UNC Board of Governors to set tuition rates for Elizabeth City State University, Fayetteville State University, University of North Carolina at Pembroke, Winston‑Salem State University, and Western Carolina University at $500 per semester for resident students and $2,500 per semester for nonresident students beginning with the 2018 fall academic semester. Makes conforming changes to GS 116-144.

Requires the UNC Board to Governors to consider what effect the elimination or increase in the 18% admission cap on nonresident students may have on student applications to Elizabeth City State University, Fayetteville State University, University of North Carolina at Pembroke, Winston‑Salem State University, and Western Carolina University.

Requires the UNC General Administration to evaluate what effect the current name of each constituent institution has had on that institution with regard to the number, academic strength, and diversity of student applications and how any prior name changes may or may not have affected the institution. UNC General Administration is required to report its findings to the UNC Board of Governors by January 15, 2017. Requires if, after considering the report from the UNC General Administration, the UNC Board of Governors finds that there has been significant improvement at any of the constituent institutions regarding the number, academic strength, and diversity of student applications since the name change, then the UNC Board of Governors must recommend appropriate name changes for any of the constituent institutions that the Board deems may benefit by changing the name of the institution to become effective beginning with the 2018‑19 academic year unless the General Assembly takes legislative action during the 2018 Regular Session to disapprove the name. 

The above provisions do not apply to high schools governed by the UNC General Administration.

Enacts new Article 35, Cheatham-White Scholarships, in GS Chapter 116. Unless otherwise indicated, the provisions below are effective beginning with the 2017 fall academic semester. Establishes the Cheatham‑White Scholarships as a merit scholarship program at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and at North Carolina Central University. Each scholarship is a fully funded four‑year scholarship that covers the cost of full tuition, student fees, housing, meals, textbooks, a laptop, supplies, travel, and personal expenses. Each scholarship also provides four summers of fully funded enrichment and networking opportunities. Allows up to 50 scholarships, 40 for resident students and 10 for nonresident students, to be awarded each academic year to students admitted to North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, and allows up to 50 scholarships, 40 for resident students and 10 for nonresident students, to be awarded each academic year to students admitted to North Carolina Central University. Effective July 1, 2016, establishes the Cheatham‑White Scholarship Fund to fund scholarships awarded pursuant to this Article and allows both private and public funds to be solicited in the creation of the fund. Requires the funds appropriated each fiscal year to the Cheatham‑White Scholarship Fund to be matched by non‑State funds and disbursed under GS 143C‑4‑5. Requires the UNC General Administration to administer the Cheatham‑White Scholarship Fund and the Cheatham‑White Scholarships program. Sets out eligibility requirements for scholarship candidates and requires that candidates be selected on the basis of academic merit, honorable character, outstanding leadership potential, and a demonstrable commitment to service and specifies that financial need shall not be a consideration. Sets out the process for high schools to nominate candidates for a Cheatham‑White Scholarship. Sets out the allowable number of nominees from each school, based on the size of the senior class. Requires UNC to administer the Cheatham‑White Scholarships for both North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and North Carolina Central University according to policies adopted by the UNC Board of Governors. Sets out the UNC General Administration's administrative responsibilities, including designing and implementing an application and school nomination process as well as a direct nomination process, establishing a mentoring and networking system for scholarship recipients, and establishing a Cheatham‑White Scholarships alumni association and network.

Effective July 1, 2016, appropriates $3,207,358 for 2016‑17 from the General Fund to the UNC Board of Governors to be allocated to the Cheatham‑White Scholarship Fund used to award Cheatham‑White Scholarships. Requires the funds to be matched by non‑state funds and disbursed pursuant to new GS 116‑291.

Except as otherwise provided, the act is effective when it becomes law and applies to the 2017 fall academic semester and each subsequent academic semester.

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