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State senator plans to remove HBCUs from low tuition bill

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- N.C. State Senator Tom Apodaca is expected to introduce an amendment to Senate Bill 837 today to remove three Historically Black Colleges from the bill.

The bill proposed lowering tuition at five state universities to just $500 per semester.

The bill included the three HBCUs, Winston-Salem State University, Elizabeth City State, Fayetteville State and also Western Carolina and UNC Pembroke.

The N.C. NAACP was outraged with the idea, saying it was an insult to the legacy of African-American education and would put the schools out of business.

A rally was held Wednesday against the bill. In reaction to the protests, Apodaca said his intention was to make college more affordable.

"I'm to the point now that if perhaps they don't want to be in this bill; then I'd be willing to take them out.  And we'll just do one campus because I've never tried to help people in my life and be treated so poorly."

Students at Winston-Salem State were split on the idea to reduce tuition costs. Some said it would have helped them avoid such large student loans, others agreed with the NAACP stance that the school would not be able to withstand losing tuition funds.

Winston-Salem State Chancellor Dr. Elwood Robinson said in a statement that discussions with legislators and the UNC General Administration about the bill were encouraging. The statement reads, "as Chancellor, my goal is to ensure we have the resources that allow us to continue to offer those students a high-quality education provided by student-centered faculty in a caring and supportive atmosphere."

A school spokesperson reports in-state tuition is currently $3,238 for and undergraduate student, and applications are currently up for the school.

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