Since 2018, Kenan-Flagler Business School students have paid a performance enhancement fee aimed at improving the undergraduate business program and providing student resources such as academic advising and global scholarships.
The rate has remained the same since it was established four years ago, but that could soon change.
Kenan-Flagler is looking to potentially increase the fee, known colloquially as the “business school fee,” for incoming students as early as the fall semester of 2023 due to program expansion and increased the registration
According to a statement from Jordan Hale, associate dean of the Undergraduate Business Program, Kenan-Flagler’s major enrollment has grown by 11 percent and minor enrollment by 66 percent starting in 2022.
“We shared that PEF has allowed us to increase the size of our staff to serve (students) in all aspects of UBP, especially in enhanced professional training, global programs, scholarships, wellness and student engagement programs” , he said. in the statement.
Business majors currently pay $1,000 each semester, for a total of $2,000 each year, according to Hale’s statement. The proposed increase would increase annual fees for incoming youth by $1,000. Business minors previously paid $1,000 a year, which could increase to $1,500.
The fee is waived for students who qualify for need-based aid, which will continue after the proposed increase.
Shimul Melwani is the associate dean of the business degree program. He said there is also a secondary process for any student going through personal financial hardship.
Hale explained that inflation from 2018 to 2022 also affected the program, with increased costs for UBP events and study abroad programming.
This month, the program sought feedback from business and pre-business students by holding town halls, student surveys and social media posts about the fee increase. Hale said students shared important concerns, but seemed to understand the need after learning more about it.
“In our interactions with students, most have asked why the fee is needed, how the fee is being used, if this is the right time to raise it, who will pay it and support for those who may not they have the resources to cover it. fee,” Hale said in the statement. “They also emphasize the importance of holding the school accountable for how the fee is used.”
Melwani said the program has not received as much student feedback as they had hoped, with only about 100 survey responses from 800 current students and about 1,000 applicants.
“Of the students who have taken it, we’ve had about 10 percent say they support it and another 15 percent say they don’t care one way or the other. And then, of course there is a significant number who are not particularly enthusiastic or supportive of it,” Melwani said.
Sophie Cho, co-chair of UBP’s Community, Equity and Inclusion Board, said that while she understands the potential increase, the timing of the proposal was not ideal due to recent tensions at Kenan-Flagler.
“This increase will help fund really needed staff who work directly for students, but I think the manner and timing of this was really unfortunate,” Cho said.
Cho said the general consensus he gathered was that students see a need for the increased fees to be competitive with other undergraduate business programs.
However, Cho also said that there needs to be a maximization of resources so that the fee is worthwhile for students.
“Furthermore, just an emphasis on expanding equity and community inclusion is important within the program so that even if there are resources, our students feel like they belong in the program and can comfortably pursue those resources that in ultimately they are paying,” Cho. said
Although the proposal was presented to two separate advisory committees, Melwani said it will need to be approved by both the UNC Board of Trustees and Board of Governors before it is enacted.
“At the end of the day, it’s just a proposal. It’s a multi-step process that goes through a lot of different bodies at UNC and then across the system as well,” Melwani said.
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