By Jim Tynen, Civitas Institute, May 18, 2015.
North Carolina voters think the University of North Carolina system is too expensive. That’s one key finding of a recent poll by the Civitas Institute.
When asked about the amount of state appropriations used to support the UNC system, 47 percent of survey respondents said the taxpayer share of undergraduate education is “too high.” Just 11 percent of voters said it was “too low,” while 31 percent said it was “about right.”
Support for higher education spending is down from Civitas’ first poll 10 years ago, when just 40 percent of voters thought the taxpayer share of UNC’s expenses was too high.
“North Carolina citizens have been historically very supportive of the UNC system, but they want to see it provide better value for students and for society. There’s a growing awareness that universities aren’t delivering on all their grand promises,” said John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy President Jenna A. Robinson.
Voters also oppose legislation that gives in-state college tuition rates to North Carolina’s illegal immigrants. Fifty-five percent of voters strongly oppose such legislation and another 11 percent are somewhat opposed. Just 28 percent would support such a law.
“The in-state tuition rate for the UNC system is intended to help citizens of North Carolina to afford a college education. Voters want to preserve that commitment to North Carolinians. They do not want to extend it to those who are here illegally,” Robinson said.
North Carolina voters’ priorities are clear. While they support the UNC system, there is no appetite for extra spending. UNC must educate students as efficiently and effectively as possible using current resources.
Text of selected questions*:
Taxpayers now pay 71% for the cost of undergraduate education in the University of North Carolina system for in-state students. Do you think the taxpayers’ share of the cost is…
47% Too High
11% Too Low
31% About Right
10% Don’t Know/Unsure
Do you support or oppose legislation that gives in-state college tuition rates to North Carolina’s illegal immigrants?
12% Strongly Support
16% Somewhat Support
11% Somewhat Oppose
55% Strongly Oppose
6% Don’t Know/Unsure
*Totals may not add up to 100 due to rounding.
About the poll: This poll of 600 registered voters in North Carolina was conducted May 5-7, 2015 by National Research, Inc., of Holmdel, NJ. All respondents were part of a fully representative sample of registered general election voters in North Carolina. Thirty percent of the respondents were cell phone-only users. For purposes of this study, voters interviewed had to have voted in at least one of the past two general elections (2012, 2014) or be newly registered to vote since November 1, 2014. The confidence interval associated with a sample of this size is such that: 95 percent of the time, results from 600 interviews (registered voters) will be within +-4% of the “True Values.”