UNCW sees $4 million budget reduction due to exceeding out-of-state enrollment limit twice
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The University of North Carolina System Board of Governors voted Thursday to enforce a budget reduction of more than $4 million against UNCW Wilmington for exceeding the System’s limit for out-of-state enrollment for the second consecutive year.
According to material compiled for Thursday’s board meeting, fall 2023 enrollment indicates that the university “has non-resident first-time undergraduate enrollment — for two consecutive years — that exceeds the cap.”
The cap starting with the fall semester in 2022 was established at 18 percent for UNCW, Appalachian State, NC State, UNC Chapel Hill and UNC Charlotte.
“For the 2023-24 fiscal year, the budget for University of North Carolina Wilmington will be reduced by $4,102,644 pursuant to Board of Governors Policy 700.1.3,” the meeting material states. “It is recommended that the funds be reallocated to the North Carolina Need-Based Scholarship for Public Colleges and Universities for the benefit of UNC System students.”
Woody White is a member of the Board of Governors. He says the policy was adopted in 1986 and needs to be revisited and, possibly, revised.
“Any North Carolina applicant that meets the minimum requirements of the institution that they wish to attend should go first. Period,” said White. “Over out-of-state, over international students, without any exception.”
The money removed from UNCW’s budget reflects the revenue the school would receive from the tuition of the 204 out-of-state students that put the school over the limit. White says the reduction does not apply to revenue obtained through fees, meal plans, and housing.
“It’s not like UNCW lost $4 million in this vote today,” said White. “They were assessed it, but over the term of the four years of those out-of-state students in regards to all the non-tuition revenue streams, they will end up in net positive for revenue.”
Board Chairman Randall Ramsey also expects the board to revisit the policy in the coming year.
“There are some who believe the policy isn’t strict enough. There are some who believe it is too strict,” said Ramsey. “I think, like all good governance, I expect our board to come together with a series of ideas and options, and I know that we will come out with a better policy than we have today.”
UNCW Chancellor Aswani K. Volety released the following statement Thursday:
“The combination of our academic programs, student life activities and coastal location resonates with students across North Carolina and beyond state borders. An education from UNCW is a high-quality experience, and students from many areas want to join the Seahawk community. The budget reduction approved by the UNC Board of Governors is based on the number of out-of-state students admitted as first-year students over the past two years.
“Each year, it can be challenging to predict how many out-of-state students will accept our offer to enroll at UNCW. Recently, we exceeded the 18% limit for first-year students that UNCW and four other UNC System institutions are expected to meet.
“We take our mission to serve the citizens of North Carolina very seriously and, overall, about 86-88% of the nearly 18,000 students enrolled at UNCW typically come from our home state. We are committed to continuous improvement in our admissions processes, and we will continue to offer all UNCW students, regardless of their origins, an education like no other.”
Volety says the UNCW officials realized the budget reduction could be a possibility when they received early out-of-state acceptance rates. He says the school planned accordingly.
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