West Virginia University President Mike Garrison will ask the WVU Board of Governors to make a commitment to fully fund the staff pay scale targets established by the Legislature, and to provide a pool of faculty salary funds larger than last years.

Among WVU s longstanding goals has been to erase the disparity between salaries on our campus and salaries at institutions that compete with us,Garrison said.

The WVU administration will submit its proposed budget for the next fiscal year to the board at the June meeting. It will, if approved, result in pay raises that will bring classified employees to 100 percent of the pay scale and fund equivalent pay increases for faculty and classified staff across the University, effective in October 2008. Individual pay increases will vary based on salary schedules, merit plans and other factors.

To compete nationally for top facultyand to attract and retain staffwe have to improve salaries,said Garrison.Thanks to the governor and Legislature, we will have $5.7 million towards the amount required to move our pay scales closer to our peers. But the entire cost of the pay raise will be about $24 million, and WVU has to find the rest.

The salary move is crucial because WVU is facing a wave or retirements in the next five to 10 yearsand will be competing with a national group of research universities to fill a large number of vacancies.

This will be the second consecutive year that we can provide a pay increase that moves us closer to our competitors,Garrison said.

He said that advancing pay for WVU employees is crucial to meeting the needs of its students and the goals of the Universitys 2010 Planand contributing to the states economic growth.

Maintaining a high quality educational experience for our students is always a priority. Our students expect and demand faculty members who are leaders in their fields,Garrison said.Weve been extremely successful in attracting quality facultybut more and more, we find that they are targets for recruitment from other schools who want to build the innovative academic programs we have at WVU . Our salaries must rise to meet the competition.

He added that the Universitys growing research enterprise is also attracting faculty members who are in great demand nationally.

WVU is also facing increases in other costs, including utilities, technology and expanding faculty numbers to hold down class sizes.

We are continuing to upgrade our classroom and laboratory facilities, and to provide more comfortable and convenient student housing,Garrison said.We are investing in sustainable buildings and strengthening the Universitys transportation system.

The University has successfully increased income from grants and contracts, private giving and other sources to pay for much of its expected increase in expenditures.

About 25 percent of WVU s budget is provided through state appropriations.

Increased tuition will help support the cost associated with the proposed pay increase and increase in costs to operate WVU . On Friday (April 4), WVU s Board of Governors approved a tuition and fee increase of $189 per semester for in-state undergraduate students and $585 per semester for nonresidents for the 2008-09 academic year. The increase is 8 percent for both groups. Similar percentage increases will also be applied to most graduate and professional school tuition levels, and on-campus housing and meal costs will rise by about 5.5 percent.

WVU tuition and fees will remain among the most affordable of the nations public land-grant universities, and the increase in out-of-state tuition still leaves WVU in an enviable competitive situation among its neighbor states.

Need-based scholarship assistance, including federal programs, West Virginias Higher Education Grant Program and scholarships funded by the WVU Foundation provide a substantial base of support for students with financial need.

We are committed to opening the doors of the University wide to every qualified West Virginia student,Garrison pledged.

In 2007, the WVU Foundation provided nearly $10.5 million in scholarship aid to WVU students and has been increasing its support for students annually.

Last year, public four-year universities across the U.S. raised tuition and fees by an average of 6.6 percent. At some colleges, cutbacks in state support required mid-year budget cuts and tuition increases. The projected increases for West Virginia public colleges this year will likely range from 7 to 9.5 percent.