No doubt most everyone has heard the expression "A day late and a dollar short." Well, I was going to do this yesterday, but we had so much news, there wasn't time to squeeze it in. On the other hand, I'm not talking about short dollars.

It was revealed that under its new budget, Duke University 's charges will include a five percent hike in undergraduate tuition, fees, room, and board. No laundry. It means the annual cost per student is now $37,555.  That is over $10,000 more than the per capita income of people in this State.  But, Duke is a private school, and if you're gonna go there, you've gotta pay the price.

Meanwhile, just eight miles away sits the flagship campus of the University of North Carolina System —UNC-Chapel Hill. It, too, is highly rated, yet its yearly undergraduate cost to in-state students, not counting food (a big item), is just pushing $8,000.

At UNC-Wilmington (now the #3 campus in the system, just behind Carolina and NC State), tuition and fees are somewhat less, but the food plan jumps it up to about the same ballpark. I point all this out to stress how very important it is to keep tuition, fees, room, and whatever costs as low as they can possibly be for North Carolina 's college students. If we start pricing our young people out of higher education, for whatever reason, we truly will have thrown the baby out with the bath water.