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UNC's Ross warns of 'sobering implications' for education in House budget

UNC President Tom Ross weighed in Friday on the House budget that passed this week, saying it has "sobering implications" for the university campuses.

"Across the country, state leaders from both parties are making strategic investments in their public universities," Ross told the UNC Board of Governors. "They understand that talent is the most valuable commodity in today's economic competition and they're gearing up to compete."

Ross said 10 of 11 Southern states, including Virginia, Tennessee and Georgia, have adopted budgets in 2013-14 that will increase funding for higher education. South Carolina is poised to do so as well, he said.

"Meanwhile, here in North Carolina, we're facing significant budget cuts on top of the more than $400 million in permanent reductions that were assigned two years ago," Ross said.

However, he said he was grateful the House budget did include some new investment in the university system's strategic priorities, as well as funding for enrollment growth and research programs.

"Still, I worry about the impact of the deep cuts and the effect they will have on our ability to continue to provide high quality education to our students and to help North Carolina's economic recovery," Ross said. "We are operating leaner and more efficiently than ever before, producing more degrees with fewer resources. And now that the state's economy is beginning to grow again, it is important that we continue to invest in the university."

-- Jane Stancil


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