UNC and Duke University differ by more than a shade of blue — especially in the difference between public and private tuition costs. An N.C. resident would pay almost $38,000 more to attend Duke than they would pay for UNC for the 2013-14 academic year.
When Duke raises tuition by 3.9 percent next year, the price difference between the two universities will also increase. In-state students at UNC will get a break from tuition increases next year, but out-of-state students f ace a 12.3 percent increase.
“We are certainly all worried about costs,” said Hope Williams , president of North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities, an association of private universities. “I think everybody is doing everything they can to keep costs down.”
Duke Provost Jim Roberts said in a recent interview with National Public Radio that Duke tuition is a bargain for the quality of education students receive. He said the university spends $90,000 o n each student per year.
“I’m not so sure that it’s a question of public versus private as much as it is the individual institutional culture,” he told NPR.
But some Duke students said the tuition increase is stretching their budgets.
“It’s difficult to say that it’s a bargain,” said freshman Duke student Diana Tarrazo , who received no financial aid despite filling out the FAFSA forms. “It’s not like everyone who doesn’t qualify for financial aid is filthy rich.”
The high cost of tuition for Duke undergraduates reflects large expenditures on faculty compensation and financial aid for other students, according to Duke’s budget report.
Duke freshman Shaker Samman said he does not mind paying for parts of Duke’s budget that he does not directly benefit from.
“Duke is not just a school — it’s a research organization, it’s a hospital, it’s a library, it’s a ‘whatever it needs to be,’” he said. “If I need to pay for staff that is only doing research, that’s great. Some of those researchers ended up winning a Nobel Prize a few years ago. If I have even a little piece of that, I’m proud.”
At UNC, in-state students benefit from state-subsidized education. Higher out-of-state tuition and private donations also help keep costs down for in-state students.
“UNC is often labeled a Best Value university by various publications,” said UNC Provost Jim Dean in an email. “This is due to the combination of excellence in academics and relatively low cost, especially for in-state students.”
The cost of attendance, which includes tuition, fees, room and board and other expenses, for in-state students was $23,416 for the 2013-14 academic year.
UNC out-of-state tuition is $28,205 , for a total cost of attendance of $45,806.
Chancellor Carol Folt said recently that the tuition for out-of-state students is about $2,400 more than the actual cost of education.
Neel Sonik, a UNC in-state freshman, agrees there are benefits despite the cost.
“I definitely feel like the amount that you get from UNC — grants, great professors and strong tradition — is worth more than we pay,” he said.