Tuition surcharge numbers increase with student body

This semester, 667 students submitted audits for tuition surcharge, Martha Wilson, senior associate registrar with Student Services, said.

The audits clarify how close students are to approaching the 140-hour tuition surcharge.

As the number of students increases, so does the number of students facing tuition surcharge, Wilson said.

“If we can avoid the surcharge for students, we do,” Wilson said.

The surcharge, 50 percent of tuition, applies to students who exceed 140 credit hours while earning their undergraduate degree, Avery Hall, vice-chair of the university’s Board of Trustees, said.

“The 140 surcharge was implemented and mandated by the UNC-system to encourage students to graduate on time,” Hall said.

The surcharge took effect in fall 2010. Before then, the surcharge was 25 percent and before 1994, the tuition surcharge did not exist, Wilson said.

North Carolina supplements money from North Carolina tax dollars for each student up to 140 attempted hours, which goes to the upkeep and basic functions of the university, Wilson said.

Once a student exceeds the 140 hours, the university no longer receives the money, Wilson said. Instead, the money goes to the state.

“The state has decided once a student gets past 140 attempted, they will no longer supplement because they think that a student should be able to graduate in four years,” Wilson said.

Advanced Placement credit, foreign language placement and summer courses hours don’t go toward the 140-hour surcharge.

Students can apply for a waiver that will negate the surcharge if they have a military service obligation, underwent serious medical debilitation, a short-term or long-term disability or had other extraordinary hardships.

The Tuition Surcharge Appeals Committee, which meets once in the spring and once in the fall, decides if the student’s fees should be waived.

Junior electronic media broadcasting major Bradlee Mikeska will graduate with 139 hours if he is able to complete all his classes on schedule, Mikeska said.

After three years in a community college, Mikeska said he decided what he wanted to choose as a major and career.

Students shouldn’t be charged extra for “being a little behind,” he said.

The courses he took counted toward the 140-hour mark.

“It’s very worrisome,” Mikeska said. “To have to risk to take out a bigger loan is worrisome. Every student should just have to pay the same amount.”

Story by: KELLI STRAKA, News Reporter