I’m pretty sure this law was passed to help tarhole u, but the article says even ECU will receive help for about 50 scholarships. I wonder how many of those will be for football.
UNC law helps athletics more than scholars Treating out-of-state athletes as in-state means state taxpayers pay millions more for the athletes
Billed as a way to lure top scholars to UNC campuses, a new law will hand out taxpayers’ dollars to 456 out-of-state students. But fewer than one-third are whiz kids.
Most are jocks.
The tuition tab for the non-North Carolinians will cost the state $5.2 million in the coming year, including $3.4 million for athletes, according to UNC estimates for the 2006-07 school year. Out-of-state students on full scholarship will be granted in-state status under a provision that was slipped into last year’s state budget with little debate.
The money for the out-of-state students was in both the House and Senate versions of the state budget that passed recently, although a final budget has not been approved. It is part of the UNC system’s overall request for $79 million to cover a growing student population in the coming year.
The number of non-North Carolina scholarship students will increase as the policy is phased in. The cost to taxpayers is expected to swell to more than $20 million annually in four years.
The law benefits private foundations that pay for the elite Morehead Scholarships at UNC-Chapel Hill and the Park Scholarships at N.C. State. Because in-state tuition is cheaper, their scholarship costs will decrease, and those schools will be able to offer more student awards.
But the bigger beneficiaries are universities’ athletics programs and booster clubs, which stand to save millions in scholarship costs year after year. The law essentially shifts a large chunk of the cost of each scholarship from the private foundations, sports programs and booster clubs to North Carolina taxpayers.
That angers 19 House representatives, most of them Republican, who have sponsored a bill to repeal it. “It’s a giveaway that should not be given away,” said the bill’s sponsor, Rep. George Cleveland, a Republican from Jacksonville.
Cleveland thinks the annual cost will eventually climb far above the $20 million estimate, “as people figure out how to game the system.”
“Why should we be spending $30 [million] to $50 million annually for out-of-state students?” Cleveland asked. “It makes absolutely no sense to me.”
But Senate Majority Leader Tony Rand, a Fayetteville Democrat who was instrumental in pushing the provision last year, said an increase in Morehead Scholars would be positive and smaller universities need help to support women’s and minor sports. He sees no problem with the state’s supporting athletes, he said.
“How important was Mia Hamm to the university?” he asked, referring to the former UNC-Chapel Hill soccer star. “You can’t calculate that.”
As the state’s college-age population grows and competition for seats intensifies, the law has raised concerns.
Former UNC President William Friday, a critic of the growth of big-time college sports, said it is unreasonable for the state to pay for athletes, whose SAT scores and grades are well below those of qualified North Carolinians. In 2005, the average SAT score was 1076 for athletes accepted to UNC-CH, compared to 1335 for all students accepted, according to a university report last year.
“I always felt that resident students who qualified themselves through hard work should have first priority in the entering class,” Friday said.
Erskine Bowles, the current UNC president, said he does not see any chance to change the situation now. “I’m a realist almost to a fault,” he said. “We opposed this bill but it’s the law. … I just haven’t spent any time on this because I don’t think I can have any impact on it.”
Sports lovers think the law is valuable, especially for schools that struggle to pay scholarship costs. At East Carolina University, scholarships cost $4.7 million in the past year and the university’s athletics department had to cover about $1 million of that, said Dennis Young, executive director of the Pirate Club.
ECU stands to get state support for 50 out-of-state athletes’ scholarships. That will be important, he said, for a university that competes with schools outside North Carolina that already provide tuition waivers.
“For us to be competitive for 19 sports we have to get in the position where we can fully fund all scholarships,” he said.
Last year, the legislation was opposed by UNC system leaders but pushed by UNC-CH boosters, who want more out-of-state students to diversify the campus and pump up the school’s academic profile. Last fall, the average SAT score at UNC-CH was 1288 for North Carolina freshmen and 1356 for out-of-state freshmen.
Jerry Lucido, UNC-CH’s vice provost for enrollment policy and management, said the law will allow the university to offer an estimated 21 additional academic scholarships in the coming year.
“It’s made us stronger academically and stronger in recruiting from a national pool,” he said.
Because the out-of-state scholarship winners will be considered in-state students, they won’t count against the UNC system’s 18 percent cap on out-of-state freshmen. UNC-CH leaders pushed to change the 18 percent limit in 2003, but the effort was dropped after widespread public opposition.
The Chapel Hill campus will expand its student body to accommodate the extra out-of-staters so that, technically, no seats will be taken from North Carolinians. But that doesn’t appease the N.C. School Boards Association, which has vigorously opposed the law.
The association sent letters to legislators, calling for its repeal. The association does not want to meddle in university business, said Jack Cherry, president and member of the Beaufort County School Board. But in his mind, any seat for an out-of-state student is one that can’t go to a North Carolinian.
“Our first and primary goal was to protect our slots for our own students,” Cherry said.
The law also has generated debate about fairness from North Carolina taxpayers. Some out-of-state students will receive full scholarships paid largely by the state, while North Carolinians who win the same scholarships will receive partial awards.
That has some parents fuming.
Teresa Lloyd of Fayetteville, the mother of one UNC-CH student and seven other children, said she was scanning an online message board when she saw that out-of-staters were gleeful about “full ride” scholarships for non-North Carolinians at UNC-CH.
“I thought it was outrageous,” said Lloyd, whose daughter Charissa is a rising sophomore on a Davie scholarship. “I couldn’t believe it.”
This fall, in-state Davie Scholars will get $5,000 a year, leaving them with out-of-pocket costs up to $41,000 for four years. Out-of-state Davie winners will “receive the equivalent of tuition, fees, room and board,” according to the university’s Web site.
“I just think that’s fundamentally unfair,” Lloyd said.
That North Carolina taxpayers will foot the bill for others’ full scholarship adds insult to injury, she said. Lloyd points out that UNC-CH is ranked by the national media as a bargain compared with other top public universities. “The idea that we have to do this to get kids to apply to Carolina is just ridiculous,” she said.
UNC-CH officials said they have not abandoned their commitment to North Carolina students. Shirley Ort, associate provost and director of scholarships and student aid, pointed out that UNC-CH is in the midst of a fundraising campaign for more merit scholarships, the majority of which will go to in-state students. This fall, besides the private Morehead and Robertson scholarships, the university will give 121 merit awards to North Carolinians and 24 to out-of-state students, Ort said.
Brad Wilson, the UNC Board of Governors chairman, who spoke against the scholarship provision, worries that in the long run the law will financially benefit some campuses over others.
“Over time, that will create a fundamental question of fairness and equity,” he said.
For now, Wilson is not surprised to see that campuses are adding out-of-state scholars and athletes.
“Why wouldn’t you?” he asked. “It’s free money.”