W.VA. HIGHER EDUCATION POLICY COMMISSION ; College Costs Rising Again; All Public 4-Year Schools, except Marshall, to Hike In-State Tuition WVU by 10%

By Quinn, Ryan | The Charleston Gazette (Charleston, WV), May 30, 2015 | Go to article overview

W.VA. HIGHER EDUCATION POLICY COMMISSION ; College Costs Rising Again; All Public 4-Year Schools, except Marshall, to Hike In-State Tuition WVU by 10%


Quinn, Ryan, The Charleston Gazette (Charleston, WV)


All but one of West Virginia's public four-year colleges intend to raise in-state tuition and fees next academic year - most by about 5 percent, and several by more. That's according to information reviewed Friday by the state Higher Education Policy Commission, which, in separate action at its meeting at Shepherd University, approved the first new higher education institution to operate in the Mountain State since 2009, reauthorized a Harrison County for-profit school it previously had voiced concerns over, OK'd a West Virginia State University music program over objections from Marshall University and placed on a 30-day public comment period a policy to help more West Virginians earn degrees.

Marshall has yet to propose tuition and fee levels for 2015-16 - interim President Gary White said last month that his school is trying to draft a budget that won't require a general tuition increase, although school officials said they didn't know at the time how a planned restructuring of academic fees would affect the overall average cost for students.

If Marshall does avoid a cost increase, it will be alone among Mountain State public institutions.

In-state undergraduate students will see annual tuition and fees increases in 2015-16 at the following schools:

* Bluefield State College: $290 (5 percent) increase, to $6,120 (33 percent increase since 2010-11)

* Concord University: $320 (5 percent) increase, to $6,740 (36 percent since 2010-11)

* Fairmont State University: $310 (5 percent) increase, to $6,620 (28 percent increase since 2010-11)

* Glenville State College: $340 (5 percent) increase, to $7,030 (44 percent increase since 2010-11)

* Shepherd University: $260 (4 percent) increase, to $6,830 (30 percent increase since 2010-11)

* West Liberty University: $290 (5 percent) increase, to $6,700 (37 percent increase since 2010-11)

* West Virginia University Institute of Technology: $290 (5 percent) increase, to $6,340 (23 percent increase since 2010-11).

HEPC staff members noted that, last month, Glenville State's Board of Governors approved keeping tuition the same for four years for students who complete 30 or more credit hours per year toward their major while keeping at least a 2.0 grade point average.

State law doesn't require the HEPC to approve increases that are 5 percent or below. The commission will hold a special meeting June 22, ahead of the July 1 start of the new fiscal year, to consider approving WVU's requested 10 percent increase for in-state undergraduates at its Morgantown campus and 8 percent increase for in-state undergraduates pursuing four-year degrees at its Potomac State College campus, which offers both two-year and four-year degrees.

It also will consider WVSU's requested 7 percent increase and Marshall's increase, if it changes course and decides on a more than 5 percent tuition jump. After expressing concern over ever- increasing tuition, commissioners passed a resolution Friday requiring schools to submit their upcoming budgets for review at or before the time they request increases above 5 percent.

"The commission really wants the full picture, HEPC spokeswoman Jessica Tice said after the meeting.

WVU hasn't approved a budget yet, despite asking for the largest tuition and fees increase this year - atop what is already the highest cost among West Virginia's public colleges and universities. Its Board of Governors plans to meet on the issue next week.

The Mountain State has one of the nation's lowest percentages of residents who have earned at least a bachelor's degree. Tuition in West Virginia has increased by almost a third - by $1,630 - since the 2007-08 academic year, around when the latest national recession began, and it was one of only four states to increase tuition this academic year by more than 4 percent, after adjusting for inflation, according to a report released earlier this month by the Washington- based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. …

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