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Editorial: Escalating tuition threatens ECU

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Justifying higher tuition never seems to be a problem for the East Carolina University Board of Trustees.

Each round comes with some reason the school must repeatedly raise the cost of attendance, be it budget cuts inflicted by the state Legislature, the need to attract and retain talented professors or fear of losing a competitive edge over other peer institutions.

While those are all reasonable concerns for the university to have, East Carolina’s mission to serve this region is made more difficult when it prices higher education beyond the reach of talented students who come from less fortunate means. Furthermore, higher tuition saddles a growing share of graduates with an even greater debt, an unenviable burden at the outset of their professional lives.

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Keep in mind the average cost

Keep in mind the average cost of public university education in North Carolina is well below the national average, and will probably always be. And the Brody School of Medicine is the least expensive med school in the entire country. In fact, it's tuition and fees combined is less than half the national average for in-state public med schools. There is no question that North Carolina has been hit especially hard by the recession. People and businesses alike have had to make tough decisions in order to get by. Some years ago, when the financial turmoil began, ECU and the UNC System were doing everything they could to not take away from the quality of education offered by public universities. It eventually came to the point, though, where the universities had to cut jobs and discontinue educational programs, some of them while seeing record enrollments year after year. There are many sides to this issue, and it is true that ECU has a high percentage of students who rely on financial aid, which mirrors the eastern North Carolina region. Whenever tuition increases though, a portion of the increase goes to fund financial aid to help the more needy students.

Looks like our education

Looks like our education system is turning into a white elephant. Maybe it's time to scrap the model and raise competition.

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Bless your heart
Bless your heart