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ONLY ON 3: House budget cuts could mean UNCW tuition hike

READ MORE: ONLY ON 3: House budget cuts could mean UNCW tuition hike

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Public schools and higher education in the Cape Fear Region are watching the state budget battle closely. While public schools fair better under the House's budget than what's being discussed in the Senate, the same can't be said for schools like UNCW.

Public schools are pleased that it looks like they can preserve teaching positions, but UNCW is unsure how these proposed cuts would effect their students. UNCW's Vice Chancellor of Business Affairs Charles Maimone said the school can handle about a two-percent cut from the state before making cuts in the classroom. The House's budget slashes UNCW's money by seven percent, leaving a large gap to fill before the fall semester starts. In December, the university approved a two-percent increase in tuition, but if the House plan becomes the state's final budget, that tuition increase might go up even more.

"Our hope is not to pass on these cuts to our students," Maimone said. "To the greatest degree possible that's what we'll try to do, but there is a point, and there really is a point, where we really start to compromise the integrity of their education, and we can't do that."

New Hanover County School Board Chair Ed Higgins said New Hanover County Schools have been preparing for a worst case scenario, but the House's budget is better than they had planned for. He also says the county is not planning any teacher layoffs right now. Instead, some outgoing teachers would not be replaced.

Of course, all of these budget discussions will continue without any hard numbers until the Senate and House compromise and send the governor a final budget.

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