RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — University of North Carolina System President Peter Hans has officially recommended that tuition not be raised next year for in-state undergraduate students at the state’s 16 public universities.

The recommendation was made at Thursday’s UNC Board of Governors meeting in Raleigh. According to the Board of Governors, they expect to vote on it in February.

The UNC System has had a tuition freeze each year for the last seven years. If Hans’ current recommendation is approved, it would be the eighth straight year without a tuition increase for North Carolina residents at the system’s universities.

“Keeping college affordable is the single most important thing we can do for the students and families of North Carolina,” Hans said. “With the generous support of our citizens and their elected leaders, we are able to offer a quality education at an incredible value. Our commitment to low tuition sets North Carolina apart and helps drive growth and opportunity across our state.”

According to a release from the UNC System, 2022-23 data from the College Board shows that North Carolina has the third lowest sticker price for tuition and fees for residents at public four-year universities. The average student debt upon graduation for UNC System students has also dropped since 2019-20, per the release.

The UNC System and the North Carolina General Assembly have taken steps, including keeping tuition flat, to keep costs lower for students.

One example is the NC Promise tuition plan, in which North Carolina residents attending Elizabeth City State University, UNC-Pembroke, Fayetteville State University and Western Carolina University pay just $500 a semester for tuition.

Another is the Fixed Tuition Program, which specifies that any North Carolina resident starting a four-year program at a UNC System school will pay the same tuition rate for eight consecutive semesters.

“Students graduating in 2028 will pay the same tuition that incoming freshmen paid in 2017. That’s a remarkable achievement, especially when you consider rising costs in the rest of our economy,” Hans said. “Our faculty, staff and administrators have shown real discipline and dedication in keeping costs low while delivering an excellent education.”