To: John C. Fennebresque, Board of Governors, Chairman, W. Louis Bissette, Jr., Board of Governors, Vice Chairman, Joan Templeton Perry, M.D., Board of Governors, Secretary, Roger Aiken, Board of Governors, Hannah D. Gage, Board of Governors...

Cap Student Debt, Not Financial Aid

The North Carolina Board of Governors’ decision to limit the ability of state colleges and universities to devote their own revenue to financial aid threatens college access and affordability for tens of thousands of students. The decision to cap aid was made over the summer without student input. North Carolina should be doing the opposite -- supporting talented, striving students seeking an affordable, quality college education and engaging in an open, inclusive decision-making process.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina State, and Appalachian State have long capped student loan debt. Those guarantees are now threatened, as is financial aid elsewhere.

We, the undersigned, request the North Carolina Board of Governors’ cap on institutional financial aid be rescinded and that instead all public North Carolina colleges cap student loan debt for those from low and hard-pressed middle-income families. Decisions about college affordability and financial aid should not be made behind closed doors without the student voice. An affordable, quality college education is in the interest of us all.

Why is this important?

The University of North Carolina system has been a national model. But a series of recent decisions undermine that status. Over the summer, for example, with no student input, the Board of Governors voted to cap student financial aid -- directly affecting the ability of 16 colleges within the North Carolina system to keep their doors open to any student with the talent, desire, and drive to attend regardless of ability to pay. As student leaders and advocates, we are asking the Board to rescind its financial aid cap and that instead all public North Carolina colleges cap student loan debt for those from low and hard-pressed middle-income families.

Without need-based financial aid, many of us would not have been able to attend or impact our respective universities in the way that we have:

“If it had not been for financial aid, my student loans would have been exceptionally higher and I would not have been able to afford my degree.” –Quantia Sutton, senior at Fayettville State

“Without financial aid, I would miss out on an often neglected aspect of [socioeconomic] diversity, and my undergraduate experience would be vastly less dynamic.” –Madeline Finnegan, freshman at NC State

Join us in signing this petition demanding that the Board of Governors overturn their decision limiting student financial aid and insisting that there be a cap on student loan debt instead. The student voice should be heard on all decisions affecting financial aid and college affordability.

For more information, visit our website

-Quantia Sutton, Fayetteville State University, Class of 2015
-Madeline Finnegan, North Carolina State University, Class of 2018
-Hajar Ahmed, University of Virginia, Class of 2014