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New bill would lower tuition at 5 North Carolina universities

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RALEIGH, N.C. -- A North Carolina Senate bill introduced Tuesday would guarantee students, admitted to any UNC system school, that tuition would not increase if they finish college in four years.

Senate Bill 873, sponsored by Republican Senator Tom Apodace, would also lower in-state tuition at five state universities to $500 a semester and $2,500 a semester for out-of-state students.

"That is a big help," said Rachel Bonham, an out-of-state student at Winston-Salem State. "I'm paying out of pocket and trying to find a whole bunch of scholarships to help me."

The schools making the list include Western Carolina, UNC-Pembroke, Elizabeth City State, Fayetteville State and Winston-Salem State.

"I know a lot of people that didn't come to school because of the money," said Aaliawah Craft, an education and physical therapy major at Winston-Salem State.

The guaranteed tuition would start this fall with the lower tuition rate kicking in in 2018.

"When I first became a student, my tuition was over $19,000," said Winston-Salem State freshman Kendra Reid, who is from Lexington. "I relied on my scholarships and grants and a couple of student loans."

The bill also calls for creating a merit scholarship to cover tuition, fees and room and board at NC Central and NC A&T University.