West Virginia Universitys Board of Governors today (April 12) approved a package of tuition and fee increases similar to those other universities across the state and nation are enacting. The proposal now goes to the Higher Education Policy Commission for approval.

The Universitys capacity to maintain quality programs and services has been limited by a steady loss in state funding, rising health insurance costs and other basic operating cost increases, officials say. The 9.9 percent increase for in- and out-of-state students addresses the need to maintain quality academic programs and student services expected by students attending a major doctoral research university.

Provost Gerald Lang, in presenting the package to the Board, said the Universitys tuition proposal”is a balance between maintaining quality educational experiences for students while maintaining affordable tuition in a time of declining state resources and increasing operating expenses.”

WVU President David C. Hardesty Jr. agreed.”We are committed to maintaining a quality educational experience for our students at reasonable rates,”he said.”With these increases, WVU is still an exceptional educational value.”

Hardesty said WVU s students learn from nationally and internationally recognized faculty members at the states only doctoral/research-extensive university; select fields of study from more than 168 varied degree programs; learn and live in state-of-the-art facilities such as the new downtown library, a 24-hour computer center; Student Recreation Center and soon-to-be completed Life Sciences Building; and thrive from innovative support programs such as Operation Jump-Start and WVUp All Night.

He reminded members of the governing board that America’s 100 Best College Buys included WVU four consecutive times. In addition, Yahoo! Internet Life magazine recently listed WVU among the nations”most wired”campuses.

“For 135 years, WVU has been building a reputation for quality, and we will not let our institution fall back now,”Hardesty said.”Most assuredly, investing in a WVU education pays dividends over a lifetime.”

With these increases, in-state undergraduate tuition will increase by $146 to $1,620 per semester. Out-of-state undergraduate tuition will increase by $439 to $4,855 per semester.

The Higher Education Policy Commission, at its March meeting, established guidelines for determining tuition and fees and capped tuition and fee increases at 9.95 percent, except for some health care programs.

National trends

For the past seven years, WVU s tuition and fees have been lower than those at many peer institutions, and they remain so, Lang explained. Average resident undergraduate tuition at WVU s HEPC -approved national peer institutions this academic year was $4,000 per year, and non-resident undergraduate tuition at those same peer institutions was $12,000 per year. Even

with the increases approved today, annual resident and non-resident undergraduate tuition at WVU remains below those averagesat $3,240 and $9,710 respectively.

Colleges and universities across the nation are expected to raise tuition significantly next year, with the National Association of State Budget Officers reporting that 40 states are facing budget shortfalls in fiscal year 2002, he said.

* WVU s circumstances*

Between 1995 and 2000, under Senate Bill 547, WVU reallocated $32 million from its budget by eliminating more than 300 positions, consolidating programs, cutting administrative overhead and improving efficiency.

Over that same period, enrollment increased from 21,517 to 22,774, the second-highest level in WVU history. External research funding has also climbed to record levels, but unfortunately WVU has had lower growth rates in state appropriations than the average of the other West Virginia public institutions.

In addition, rising institutional Public Employees Insurance Agency (PEIA), Bureau of Risk and Insurance Management (BRIM) premiums and other basic operating costs such as utilities will cost the Morgantown Campus an additional $6.1 million in fiscal year 2003.

WVU is also funding the pay raises that faculty and staff received this fiscal year and earmarking funds for faculty promotions in order to continue to attract and reward top-notch faculty members to teach students. Raises for next fiscal year are still unclear.

Other tuition and fee increases

Other components of the tuition and fee increase package approved today are:

  • Graduate student fees for state residents will increase by $161 to $1,782 per semester. Non-resident graduate fees will increase by $453 to $5,008.
  • Fees in some specific degree programs will increase in order to maintain high-quality facilities and technology in keeping with the accreditation and emerging technology demands of various disciplines. For example, undergraduate engineering majors will pay a new fee to upgrade classroom and laboratory space. This fee will be $75 per semester for state residents and $125 for non-residents. The average starting salary for a College of Engineering and Mineral Resources graduate is in the low $50,000 range with a $2,000-3,000 signing bonus, according Jack Byrd, director of WVU s Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and Development. Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism students will also pay a new fee ($75 for residents, $100 for non-residents) to maintain and improve computing resources and audio and video laboratories. Journalism has a 98 percent job placement rate for graduates. The Forensic Identification Programthe only one of its kind in the worldwill also implement a $75 fee for residents and a $125 for non-residents to support equipment and facilities needs.
  • Undergraduate students majoring in health professions will pay $177 more than this years rates in-state and $529 more out-of-state, except in the pharmacy program; pharmacy undergraduates will pay $206 more in-state and $582 more out-of-state.
  • Some graduate programs will also have fee increases. For example, law students from West Virginia will pay $3,371, an increase of $305. Out-of-state law students will pay $7,812, a $707 increase. West Virginia medical students will pay $5,702, a $518 increase. Non-resident medical students will pay $14,072, an increase of $1,318.
  • Residence hall room rate increases will range from $53 to $74. The cost of meal plans will also increase.
  • At WVU Potomac State College, state resident fees will increase by $44 to $1,140. Non-resident fees will increase by $140 to $3,623. Metro fees for out-of-state students in bordering counties will increase by $71 to $1,833.
  • At WVU Parkersburg, bachelors degree students will pay $76.20 more in-state and $195 more out-of-state, or $1,035 and $2,733 respectively. Community college students will pay $56 more in-state and $180 more out-of-state, or $774 and $2,472 respectively.
  • At WVU Institute of Technology, in-state undergraduates in engineering and computer science will be assessed an $184. In-state undergraduates in business, the humanities and science will be assessed $138. Out-of-state engineering and computer science undergraduates will be assessed $391. Other out-of-state undergraduates will be assessed a $345 increase. Metro fee increases will range from $238 to $288, depending on the degree program. Community and technical college students from West Virginia will pay $132 more than this year. Out-of-state community and technical college students will be assessed $345.

Other BOG News

The BOG also approved:

  • a three-pronged project at the WVU Creative Arts Center to remove asbestos, upgrade sprinkler and fire alarm systems at a cost of $5.7 million, and renovations to the concert theater and choral recital hall at a cost of $3.1 million from private sources
  • a uniform sabbatical leave policy for faculty
  • recommendations of a program review committee
  • guidelines for awarding honorary diplomas posthumously
  • an updated master plan for Potomac State College of WVU that includes land use, vehicular and pedestrian circulation, building programs and sites, parking and landscaping
  • the addition and renovation of the Potomac State College of WVU Library, or Information Center, that will require $4.3 million in federal funds and $1.5 million in private support
  • moving forward to renovate the Neal D. Baisi Athletic and Wellness Center as a Student Recreation Center at the WVU Institute of Technology at a projected cost of $4.7 million
  • a collegiate certificate in general studies at WVU Institute of Technology to increase accessibility to associate degree nursing programs in the Kanawha Valley

These items now go to the HEPC for final approval.