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Freshman Math: More Students = More Tuition

State-funded universities across the Carolinas have had to raise tuition and tighten their belts to deal with significant budget cuts for the coming school year. Budgets are also affecting the size of this year's freshman class. The fledgling Gamecocks arriving on the campus of University of South Carolina today have a special distinction: It is the school's largest freshman class on record. USC associate vice president for enrollment management Scott Verzyl says about 4,400 freshmen are expected this year. That's 450 more than USC admitted last fall. The school will have a tough job accommodating them with fewer faculty members and the 21 percent budget cut it took from the state. But Verzyl says the math is simple: more students equal more tuition revenue. The additional freshmen should generate between $3 million and $5 million for USC. "So yes, that does help the bottom line by taking more students," says Verzyl. "But we're committed to delivering the same quality educational experience and delivering on the promise that we make when we admit students." USC hopes to do that by squeezing more class time out of its faculty. University of North Carolina schools had their budgets cut, too. But don't expect a more crowded campus at UNC Charlotte. For the first time in at least a decade, the school is shrinking its freshman class. "Our approach (is) not punishing your faculty more and not promising more to your students than you can deliver," says UNC Charlotte admissions director Tina McEntire. "(We want) to still meet their needs in an appropriate way." There will be about 170 fewer freshmen at UNC Charlotte this year. But, they'll be paying 16.3 percent more for tuition than last year's newcomers. Down at the University of South Carolina, there may be a lot more freshmen roaming around, but their tuition only went up 6.9 percent.