Allocation of $38 Million In State Funds For Key Initiatives And Campus Revitalization Efforts
University of North Carolina Asheville will receive its largest budget allocation ever with Governor Cooper’s approval of the North Carolina biennial state budget for fiscal years 2021-22 and 2022-34. From the biennial state budget of $50 billion, over the next two fiscal years, UNC Asheville will receive a historic allocation of $17 million for key initiatives related to campus community revitalization efforts plus an additional $21 million for repair and renovation for campus academic facilities and key infrastructure needs.
“Under the capable leadership of Chancellor Cable and her team, and in close collaboration with the UNC System, UNC Asheville is well positioned to leverage its academic and strategic strengths in service to the students and people of North Carolina,” said UNC System President Peter Hans. “The University’s innovative initiatives such as The Asheville Trust, not only meaningfully address a real concern among today’s college students and their families, but are also forward-thinking and viable in today’s dynamic economic landscape.”
These much anticipated funds will benefit the University in many ways, including compensation and salary increases across the board for employees; support for undergraduate student enrollment and success; earmarking funds for The Asheville Trust – a student debt reduction program; and, increasing merit-based and need-linked scholarship for rural, first-generation, or underrepresented communities.
“This historic budget allocation is a vital first step in a series of breakthrough initiatives in support of UNC Asheville,” says UNC Asheville Chancellor Nancy J. Cable. “While more resources will be needed in the coming years, this unprecedented UNC System and legislative support signals faith in our efforts to increase our fiscal strength and capacity; to evolve and innovate our curriculum, campus culture and student success; and to strengthen our public-private partnership footprints across the region, state and beyond.”
The biennial budget allocation will benefit UNC Asheville’s key strategic priorities:
- Compensation: The State budget includes a 2.5% salary increase for this fiscal year and a 2.5% increase in the 2022-23 fiscal year for a total of 5% increase on base salary over the two fiscal years for eligible employees. The 2.5% increase for the current fiscal year will be retroactive to July 1, 2021. The budget also includes a bonus for all state employees and local education employees of $1,000. An additional $500 bonus (for a total of $1,500) for employees earning less than $75,000, as well as all law enforcement officers, among others employed by State agencies.
- Retired state employees will not receive raises, but they will get 5% cost-of-living adjustment bonuses over two years: 2% this fiscal year and an additional 3% in the 2022-23 fiscal year.
- The budget also includes continued funding for the UNC System faculty recruitment and retention fund over the next two years.
- Undergraduate Student Enrollment and Success Funding: UNC Asheville will receive $5 million in recurring funds in FY 2021-22 and again in 2022-23 to strengthen student enrollment, student success and career and graduate school opportunities through enhancements to student retention, timely degree completion, internships and global study opportunities.
- The Asheville Trust – A Student Debt Reduction Program: UNC Asheville is the first school in the UNC System to address the national issue of student debt, a one-of-a-kind, innovative debt reduction program. The University will receive a one-time $3 million award to provide debt reduction for North Carolina resident students entering the University with estimated family adjusted gross incomes of $65,000 or below through the biennial budget. UNC Asheville must match the funds by raising $3 million in philanthropic funds before the allocated resources can be utilized. The funds will be applied as a credit to qualifying students’ accounts to assist in limiting student debt.
- UNC Asheville Talent Scholarship: UNC Asheville will receive $2 million in recurring funds in FY 2021-22 and again in 2022-23 to support merit-based and need-linked scholarships for up to 400 students annually from rural, first-generation, or underrepresented communities who attend UNC Asheville.
The State budget also includes a provision that allows out-of-state student-athletes who attend UNC Asheville on a full scholarship to receive in-state tuition rates effective as of the 2021-22 academic year.
“This unprecedented budgetary support is a clear indication of the legislative confidence in the vast potential of UNC Asheville,” said Rick Lutovsky, Chair of the UNC Asheville Board of Trustees. “This is the start of even greater things to come.”
In addition to these campus initiatives, UNC Asheville will receive $21 million in repair and renovation monies to support the refresh and update of the campus academic and infrastructure capital needs. These include, but are not limited to, Lipinsky Hall renovation planning work, roadway repairs, campus safety improvements, and many more projects to be announced.
Says Chancellor Cable, “I am deeply grateful for the extremely hard work of so many of our colleagues and friends who have helped advocate for the budget allocation and support of these initiatives, including our UNC Asheville Board of Trustees, North Carolina legislative leaders, Provost Garikai Campbell, Vice Chancellor for Budget and Finance John Pierce, and UNC Asheville Executive Director for Governmental and Community Relations Lakesha McDay. While we await guidance from the System Office and next steps from the State Office of Budget and Management before we receive the resources, I hope all will join me in celebrating this outstanding news for UNC Asheville.”