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Senate | May 25, 2016 | Chamber | Senate Appropriations

Full MP3 Audio File

[BLANK_AUDIO] If I can have everyone's attention for just a moment? I understand that there is a request for public comment and we're a sheet at the back of the room if you are interested in signing up, please do so as soon as you can. Thank you. [BLANK_AUDIO] Good afternoon everyone, we're gonna call this appropriations meeting to order. [BLANK_AUDIO] Thank you everyone for being here today. First I'd like to introduce our senate pages. Lauren Byram, paging for senator Bingham. Sarah Pool also paging for Senator Bingham, Rianna Allen for Senator McGinnis. Cameron Ketner for Senator Curtis, Also thanks to our Sergeant at arms Terry Bernhardt, Donna Blake, Larry Hancock and Hal Rich. We have one bill for consideration today we'll go ahead and invite Senator Apodaca to present it. >> Thank you Madam Chairman, members you probably if were not in education this morning heard one of the best bill presentations in the history of the senate, and I regret those that weren't there missed that. So Senator Robinson has said she's heard enough, Senator Ford is choking so I'm not gonna go into great detail, I think we had a great discussion this morning. Hopefully the bill hasn't changed much since that time, but I do like to send forth an amendment, madam chairman. >> Do committee members have the amendment yet? [BLANK/-AUDIO] Yes? All right. Go ahead Senator Apodaca. >> Would you like me to read the amendment? >> If you would please. >> Yes ma'am okay, what this does is what we discussed this morning. It moves to amendment the bill on page two, line 42 by deleting 10% to 25% and substituting it with 5% and this pertains to the fees and it takes it down to 5% versus the mandatory look between 25 and 10. So I ask for your support on this and also that's exactly what it does, change it into two places. Takes it down to 5% for the university's trying to look for some savings in the fees. I ask for your support. >> Any questions on the amendment? >> Madam chairman? >> Yes. >> I move for a favorable report. >> I have a question. >> Senator Bryant. >> Mr Robinson had a question before me, do you have a question?[INAUDIBLE] >> Senator Robinson? >> Thank you Senator Bryant. I just want to know have you looked at what the impact is and what this will mean in terms of the fee decreases across the universities across the state? Senator Apodaca has anyone done that yet? >> Senator Robinson yes and let me find it, that's a great question. Excuse me. One moment. [BLANK_AUDIO] I have a total figure, it will be somewhere Combined around 20 million but that's total for the whole system and I can break it out for you. If you have a particular institution I can share this graph with you, you can take a look. >> I'd like to have the graph. >> Sure. >> If you'll share that with me. I mean you can email it to me or what. I just wanna - >> [INAUDIBLE] based on 10%. >> [BLANK_AUDIO] Any other questions or comments on the amendment? >> I have an additional question. How will this impact debt service requirements are just 5%. Obviously they can't impact obligated fees for debt service, I'm assuming. >> That's correct. >> So this 5% would have to come from areas other than that service? >> Yes ma'am. >> Other than dedicated fees for debt service. >> Right. >> Other questions or comments? All those in favor of passing this amendment and adding it to the

bill please say aye. >> Aye. >> Opposed. Amendment passes. [BLANK_AUDIO]. Senator Brown. >> I do have an amendment. I don't know if it's been passed out yet. Have we got it? >> Members have the copies? Alright. Go ahead senator. >> I don't know I got a copy. But what it does basically is take the 300,000. Here it is in section 5B, takes the 300,000 out of the bill. Normally we would include this in our report later. Sorry. >> Thank you Chairman Brown. Question or comments on this amendment? Sir Apodaca. >> Madam Chairman I support this amendment. You will see it again as Senator Brown said in the budget. It just violates the rules for us to hear another appropriation here but you will see it again. Senator Bryan you'll be able to vote Vote on it then. >> Thank you. Any other questions or comments on this amendment? All those in favor of passing this amendment please signify by saying aye. >> Aye! >> Opposed? Amendment passes. Go ahead Senator Apodaca. >> Well I think I've said about everything that can be said. I think back to Chairman Lucas. First time I presented a bill, told me it had passed, if I kept running my mouth I'd probably fail so I'd be happy to answer any questions. >> All right. Questions or comments from committee on this? Senator Davis? >> Thank you so much madam chair. Didn't want to consume up all the time like before and this is probably more appropriate in the appropriations here. But my question is, and this is well known in academia, and that is, when you come upon a recession it's not always unlikely that you see decreases in enrollment. And when we look now at this period we're coming out of a recession and somewhat the impact that it had here, there wasn't just a decrease in enrollment at several of these HBCUs but actually those decreases in several of the institutions in the system. My question is, what impact do you foresee or think that this may or may not have in terms of future enrollment regardless of external environmental issues such as a recession that may be taking place? >> Senator that's a good question and I wish I had crystal ball but my guess would be that enrollments getting ready to increase significantly at all these schools. So when we do have a downturn, it may be more difficult or more competitive for folks to get into these schools. at But I certainly don't wanna not pursue building up enrollment now in anticipation of a downturn later, we have the same problems at community colleges, enrollments down cuz the economy has gotten better thanks to all of us for what we've done. >> Follow up. >> Okay so do wanna come back to a point that was made earlier today and that was the enrollment increases and perhaps now it entertains a conversation about the market and potentially now increasing the tuition. Well if we start entertaining that, realizing there could also be external factors such as recessions and so forth, I mean would that not provide us more reason to be hesitant about any future increase or be very skeptical about how we approach Just because things are good today, it may quickly turn tomorrow. >> Sure I think it's basically supply and demand. I think that will take care of it and you bring up a good point. But we're not there now so we need to get to that point, hopefully price and capacity will play into that, get us even closer where we need to be without as many supplements Senator Brian. >> I just kinda got myself down to earth enough to focus on the fact that this new enrollment program that we hope will have a great name will start in 2016 so are we funding or do we have some idea in mind how this is gonna be a quick marketing approach to meet with what we need to happen, if that's correct? >> Well, I think it actually, if staff correct me here, I think it actually kicks in in 2017 but decisions have to be made in 16 going forward.

[BLANK_AUDIO] >> Sorry, Mobondo/g >> Yes, Monondo/g fiscal research, the fix tuition of the bill, ma'am it begins in 2016 academic year. >> Follow up. >> Thank you, the reduced tuition we have a year to prepare for that. >> Yes ma'am. >> Okay, thank you. >> Senator Ford. [INAUDIBLE] Mr. Bondo/g follows up? >> Sorry I misunderstood the question, the reduced tuition ma'am, that in the bill takes place in 2018 fall semester. >> Thank you. >> Senator Ford. >> Thank you madam chair, Senator Apodaca I wanna go back to a provision in the bill that would authorize the director budget to increase the budget of UNC by up to $70 million to cover the cost of lost tuition revenue from the reduced tuition at certain UNC universities. >> Follow up, that deals with just tuition and not just room and board, is that correct? >> That's correct. >> Follow up. >> We're only reducing tuition, we're not reducing room and board. >> Follow up. >> Thank you. I think there is some additional information that people need to know, is I think when the information got out there about tuition was just gonna be $500. Some other folks thought that's the only thing that was gonna cost and that's just not the accurate complete information that folks need to understand there were gonna be additional costs associated with going to these universities. Following question was on the sustainability of the $70 million allocation for years going forward, what is your thought or leadership's thought about how to sustain that? >> Well, I know my boss has made a commitment to us to continue sustaining that as long as he is here. None of us are promised tomorrow as we all know but like we said this morning, I think it will be very difficult to change that, it has to be done statutorily so the bill will have to come forward and voted on by the membership to take that away. I would think it would go forward and continue to be there. Would be my guess or my hope. >> Further questions or comments from the committee? Senator Davis. >> Thanks. I just had a quick inquiry of the chair, in our last meeting we realized that and I hate to do this in terms of if there's efforts and intent to move forward but it was articulated that we would have a chance to hear from residents who may have driven in, I just wanna make sure we would- >> That's next. >> Thanks. >> Seeing no further questions or comments from committee, at this time we understand there are some folks here who'd like an opportunity to speak on this bill. If you signed up for public comment, please step up to the microphone. [BLANK_AUDIO] [SOUND] >> Two minutes. >> Well- >> Can't even say my name in two minutes. >> [LAUGH] >> Welcome. Please state your name. >> Thank you Madam Chair, members of the sub committee, Senator Apodace, my name is Abdul Rashid and I stand today as the Chair of the Elizabeth City State University National Alumni Association. And I wanna say that when some wise anonymous person said that what is owed in justice should never be given in charity. So I wanna just begin by saying that we certainly fully support any investment in our HBCUs and the other name schools, but we do wanna make sure that that commitment is something that can be sustained in the future. So as senators have raised the concern around this notion of this session of the legislation being able to bind future legislation to this commitment we remain concerned about that. We also have some concerned, yet understanding the impact as you've just discussed of the fees as they impact our campuses and universities. But other wise we want to encourage investment. We support investment. And we think that this is long overdue in terms of trying to help HBC reach their full potential. Thank you. Thank you Mr. Rashid.

Welcome. >> Thank you my name is Andrea Harris [INAUDIBLE] I'm a senor fellow. Which means I just got gray hair. And I'm serving now as the director of HBCU national alumni project. And I just wanna say say first one thank you giving attention to the needs of HBCUs. North Carolina has the largest number of four year HBCUs in the nation. It has a two plus billion dollar economic impact in contribution to this economy. And if you look around the majority of Engineers, of the doctors, of the teachers, of the lawyers are graduates of HBCUs. As you saw last week when you came to meet with the [INAUDIBLE]. And I look forward to your stepping. >> [LAUGH] >> You know one of the things that Things that often don't recognise is the fact that all of our HBCUs had an increased enrollment incline through 2011. When you look at what was happening on the HBCU campuses from up through 2010 to 2011 enrollment was Increasing. And all of a sudden there was a major decline across campuses. And we lost 27,000 students on HBCU campuses because the federal government administrative change requirement for the parent plus loan program. So the parents no longer had an opportunity to get those loans to meet that gap. Because they said if you had anything in your credit report that reflected that you had a 90 day or more late payment in the past five years then you didn't qualify. And that was during the recession. That impacted most negatively on African Americans. There was a change in programs And then [INAUDIBLE] were no longer available for summer school. And there was also a reduction and cuts in costs across the board in higher education, including HBCUs. So one I say that because what you hear most are some of the challenges and the negatives rather than all the positives and have a better understanding of what's happened on this campuses. So I encourage an investment in the HBCUs but I would also encourage the engagement such that the respective campuses have the flexibility to use the dollars in ways that best would allow them to increase their enrollment, and that ANTN North Carolina central as you'd said earlier, have the authority to manage those respective funds. In 2000 when you passed the $3 billion higher education bond it was as a result of a study that looked at the capital needs at first at HBCUs and it was so bad that legislators got on a bus and visited the campuses and that's how their eyes got open to the need, that you decided to put it out there for everybody. So some of those needs on those campuses never got addressed, so I would encourage you as you look at this that you also recognize that some of the challenges with regard to fees still deal with some of the historic under funding and lack of available funds to address whether there are health needs or other needs on this campuses as you know with some of the institutions. >> Thank you for your- >> So my last comment to you is it is raining and some poor communities and in the African-American and minorities communities in North Carolina so if you need additional funds we would encourage you to look at your rainy day fund cuz it's raining in our neighborhood. >> Thank you for your comments Ms. Harris. Welcome. >> Good afternoon, Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity, my name is Shonta Jackson, I'm a graduate of Winston Salem State University as well as my mother back in 1963, we have a long family legacy of Winston Salem State University. My main thing is i'm concerned about the guise of cutting cost and making it affordable, when in essence we will be back here two years from now begging to stay alive. When you take those funds away from the students with a verbal promise that you're gonna give us some extra funds. When we know in two or three years we'll be back here begging for our lives. You're gonna destroy a tradition. While you're trying to figure out which method is going to be the best, you're destroying the lives of students who have worked hard. And while you're playing this game, there will be students who are already at the institution who will be feeling as though now their degree is even going to feel lessened

because they're going to a school with a $500 tuition. I have an eight month old and I pay way more than that. So I would just urge you that as we are looking to cut funds, to make schools affordable, that we remember that with the Salem State University already has one of the lowest tuition in the state. And yet even with that low tuition, they are at the top of the state in terms of graduation rates, in terms of employability, in terms of even salaries upon graduation. I would hate for us to lose that standing and that foundation while we try and make life affordable. >> Thank you for your comments Miss Jackson. [BLANK_AUDIO] >> Good afternoon. My name is Alicia Kenty/g, I'm the HBCU Outreach Coordinator for a common course North Carolina. I'm also an alum of North Carolina Central and UNC Chapel Hill. I'm here to voice the concerns of several students. Students are concerned that with the $500 tuition decrease that their schools are now put into a tier system, that we now have premium predominately white institutions, premium HBCU and there are also those schools that are not so premium, they now fear that their degrees will not be valued as they graduate but at the same time we have institutions that are graduating the largest group of African-American nurses at Westhill/g State. We have Bagels State who just walked their largest graduating class this May, so these institutions are growing and accomplishing great things with every single class, so I just ask that while we think about how to make college affordable and we look to NC State with a part scholarship and UNC Chapel Hill with the Morehead, that we also look at their affordability, scholarships such as the Carolina [INAUDIBLE] that has also held minorities graduating in for years. So there's other ways to make sure that this graduation rates continues to increase without decreasing tuition of $500 thank you. >> Thank you for your comments Mr [UNKNOWN]. >> Good afternoon my name is Victor Burlington/g I'm the Vice President with states university elect. I arise to ask you to please take a very, very close look at how we are marketing enrollment growth at our universities. I think it's a better method versus discounting price is not always the object but more so to promote the equality education you get here by having maybe more merit based performance type scholarships available. We are going to appropriate money to repay the loss of revenue why not look at it from the angle of merit based performance type scholarships for these students at this universities I stated earlier our universities are producing at the top levels I know with states university but definitely look at the way that we go about marketing this since we can't guarantee the fees and the dollars in the future years to come but lets get another method of supporting and making education more available here through more maybe merit based types of scholarships for this university. >> Thank you for your comments Mr Burlington. And on behalf of the committee we are very pleased that you all took the time to come in here share your comments with us we do not take it lightly that you've invested this much time in sharing your thoughts further comments or questions from the committee? Sir Apodaca did you have any other comments? Senator Robinson. >> No go ahead I'll finish. >> Thank you madam Chair I have a couple of comments this morning and I do appreciate all of the alumni and representatives of the HBCUs who come today being one of those advocates and protest in the [INAUDIBLE] I always say you have to speak loud because you got protect your own. And so I appreciate that more than probably than most folks cuz I've done that all my life. I also want to just share a little bit of information. My ultimate goal has always been from the time before I got on board a governor through that time advocating for HBCUs and others in here, to do the same, to make sure that we avail higher education to as many of our students as possible and understand that cost is a

factor even with my own children and their parents like who can't pay what some of us have paid as our children have graduated through and the cost of college across the country continues to grow. So as many arguments as I have with Senator Apodaca and as much as I disagree with him most times [LAUGH] That's honest [LAUGH] Okay. When he shared this document with me I was suspect just like you and I probably still am but, however, some of us kind of investigated different options and I appreciate the opportunity for him to do that because there are several options when you look at need based and some people talked about need based and I have some Familiarity being on the board of governors with that and I have asked GA to share with me is that when you look at need based at you various schools you might note that a smaller percentage goes to your school than you think. Because need based goes across the entire state and it goes to those students who qualify in that particular quadrant. So if it's North Carolina ENT they only get $400,000 and you'll be surprised. So when you look at formulas in terms of how do we appropriate this money to get maximum participation that's still being investigated but need based will get to the kids with the lower income. But it won't get to kids like Joel Ford, Joel I'll use you, who's in that middle income gap who has to work and help pay college costs and then borrow some money. Because he doesn't fit the criteria for PAYL or for NEED and so we also I wanna make sure that we get to those kids as well to to make sure they have some opportunity to Elizabeth City and Winston-Salem State and ANT, we wanna make sure. So it's difficult to look at a formula, if you look across the country, University of Texas, even Howard University among others have done rebates. And what they do is they give students rebase if they accomplish a certain amount in terms of academic requirements. The University of Texas one piece is to start at a tuition rate and then drop after the student has met like 15 hours or so, to mean that they have earned and they continue to earn and Don disagrees with that, okay it's all right Don. But options are out there and I'd invite you even though I'm not the one making the decisions, now don't fool yourself. I invite you to share those options In terms of how do we make sure most students get an opportunity to go to the university and graduate on time without huge debt. Because retention is another issue. So that's the question we have to ask ourselves. How do we do that? And to make it affordable because our constitution says that our university system shall be as free as is practicable. It recently hasn't been that. So we need to look at how do we make that opportunity available. And that's the kind of information that you heard Senator Apodaca say that I have been trying to share with him. In terms of, and several of us have shared options, but I'd say to Senator Apodaca, if you move forward with this they're gonna need some marketing money. Because perception is real, so perception means you gotta market it the right way so that people see the positive as opposed to the negative. It is, so that's critical. >> Thank you Senator Robinson. Senator Tucker. >> Thank you ma'am. I don't wanna elongate the meeting much longer. Senator Apodaca a couple of questions here. I'm misunderstanding three out of the four speakers there. I think I heard them say that they did not want the tuition reduced to the $500 rate and it's my understanding and motivation to do that is because the five universities as outlined in your bill are not at 100% capacity is that correct? >> That's correct 100% now. >> Follow up. >> So we have buildings that are heated in cold staff that's there, overhead structures in place, and reduction of the $500 is to entice more students to come to the university. And that's our goal here not to devalue a degree or anything like that I've never seen on a job application what is your What did your college cost always so where did you graduate from what degrees do you have so I don't know how that's devaluing that we are just trying to get the enrollment up so that we can basically

cover overhead is that the motivation for this right is what I understood. >> You are absolutely correct Senator. >> One more follow up or one more comment, you know I know that we can't obligate legislation or legislate doors or any general assembly in the future, but I think what helps us talk about look at the futures what's happened in the past, some of this schools have been loosing money and for a long time and if I'm correct in that statement and I may not be but they have not the maintained financial solvency and the state has had to assist in many ways to his many discussions since I have been here and my African American friends know as well about closing universities or a couple of them, this is an effort to keep that from happening, however even though they are losing money or may not be as solving as we want to be nobody has closed them in the past and I don't think anybody has got the political will around here to do such a thing so I think it will be funded in the future and quite frankly those of us who are in a majority well may not always be in a majority and certainly if that changes in a couple of years there would not be any effort there to not continue to re-appropriate the dollars that are there so historically we have sustained this schools and historically I mean and in the future. To do so and that will certainly be my intent, thank you. >> Thank you Senator Tucker. Chairman Brown? >> Thank you Madam Chairman, just kinda a quick follow up on what Senator Tucker is talking about. Senator Apodaca I think your count amount if I remember right and I think that Western Carolina is included in this bill and I just can't imagine that you would run this bill with the thoughts of putting a different light on Western Carolina as highlights respected at this point so i'm kinda like Senator Tucker I don't believe that's the intent of this bill I think the intent is to try and help this campuses and help in a way that they can continue to grow and you're right Senator Tucker, I don't know if I've ever asked anybody how much it costs to get that degree when I hire anybody so i'm not sure that really matters in the long term so. >> Thank you Chairman Brown, Senator Apodaca did you have any other comments? >> Yeah Madam Chairman if I could just to finish up here and to speak to those folks who mentioned that they thought the $500 was for degree was kinda degrading or showed cheapness for lack of a better word. I wanna assure them I would not do that to my Alma mater. I graduated from there, my wife graduated from there and both my sons graduated from there. So I don't think it downgrades any university listed here. I think it helps. You could go to the Alma mater of Senator Barefoot and Senator Heis. You could pay 20,000 a year but you never get the value you would get at Western Carolina so and thank you Senator [INAUDIBLE] so madam chairman thank you. >> Thank you [INAUDIBLE] see no further comments or questions from committee the chair recognizes Senator Wake for a motion. >> Thank you madam chair one, I would move for favorable report of the bill as amended with amendments to be rolled into a committee substitute. >> We have a motion on the floor, all in favor please say aye >> Aye. >> Opposed? Ayes have it