News & Events
MHC President Praises NC House Budget
Dr. Dan Lunsford, president of Mars Hill College, was one of several officials of North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities who praised education budget leaders in the House of Representatives today for funding student aid and enrollment growth in all sectors of higher education.
Lunsford said he was pleased and gratified to see that budget writers in the House recognize the importance of funding the two items.
“Today, the North Carolina House of Representatives has taken a step to support financial aid programs for the 37,000 North Carolina students attending independent colleges and universities in our state, including 815 of those students who attend Mars Hill College,” Lunsford said.
“Due to difficult economic conditions in North Carolina, Mars Hill College has seen an increase in the number of students asking for financial aid in order to begin or complete their educations,” Lunsford said. “This includes the 48% of our students who are eligible for the Pell Grant, which is a federal indicator of the students with the highest need. Other students that this action will benefit may not have had such dire need prior to the current economic downturn. This financial aid from the state can make all the difference in whether many of our students are able to obtain a college education at all.”
The General Assembly provides an average appropriation of over $13,000 for each public university student. That compares to an average of $3,200 in aid for each full-time, in-state student attending a private college or university in the state, saving taxpayers over $10,000 for each student. If the state had to educate those 37,000 students in the public university system, it would cost taxpayers an additional $400 million, plus hundreds of millions more for new buildings.
The House Appropriations Committee is recommending the state fund the grants for a projected enrollment increase at private colleges and universities of $4.5 million. Also recommended is an additional $126 million for enrollment growth in the community colleges, and over $59 million in the UNC System.
Dr. A. Hope Williams, president of NCICU, said thousands of North Carolina parents of college students will be grateful that the General Assembly funded the enrollment growth and aid programs in all three sectors of higher education.
“This is such a challenging budget year,” Williams said. “There were no easy decisions for legislators to make, and all education sectors are suffering from budget constraints. I think legislators have been as fair in appropriating limited resources as they could be,” she concluded.
(May 28, 2010)