Continuing to invest in the University’s strategic plan and academic mission – despite state budget reductions – is the smart thing to do, West Virginia University’s Board of Governors agreed today (June 6) in approving the 2014 fiscal year budget along with a two-year strategy to deal with budget reductions.
WVU and its divisional campuses must adjust the budget for the year beginning July 1 to absorb $13.3 million in state cuts. The financial environment is further challenged by federal cutbacks, sequestration and other operating issues, creating about an $18 million gap that must be closed through a combination of cost savings and new revenue generation. Some cost savings have already been identified – such as elimination of the Printing Services unit and tabling salary increases at this time, Vice President for Administration and Finance Narvel Weese told the Board.
WVU will use a two-year planning cycle “to seek input and make deliberate and strategic changes” to the University’s budget, he noted.
In the immediate fiscal year, plans call for savings to be recovered from vice presidential areas at three separate times (September, December and March) to reduce expenditures to offset the loss of the appropriations this year. Rather than across-the-board cuts, each vice president will be given latitude to identify where short-term savings can occur (i.e., reducing travel, holding open vacant positions, etc.).
Academic units will experience smaller percentage reductions than non-academic units, Weese added.
With uncertainty if this year’s cuts will be permanent, vice presidents, deans and senior leaders will also be asked to engage in a planning process to identify long-term structural reallocations, reductions and changes to the budget – as much as 10 percent – for fiscal year 2015.
A web site (http://planning.wvu.edu/treasury_operations/budget_suggestions) to seek budget savings and/or revenue-generating ideas will continue to operate as well. The University Planning Committee will coordinate all ideas, and faculty staff and students will have an opportunity to provide feedback through fall semester and into the spring with a goal of presenting an FY 2015 budget to the Board in April.
“The intent of starting this longer-term planning now is to give time for input and strategic brainstorming, while we deal with the immediate cash recovery required to balance the FY 2014 budget,” Weese said. “This planning is also important to keeping WVU’s in-state tuition among the lowest of our national and HEPC peers.
WVU President Jim Clements said, “As a leadership team, we must be committed to collaboration and alignment with our core mission so that we remain financially sound and continue the momentum that has defined WVU these past several years.
“Therefore, investments in academic programs; in recruiting and retaining high-quality faculty and staff; in research, scholarly activity and innovation; and in maximizing the impact of our activities across the state and beyond remain a priority.”
Tuition and Fee Increases
WVU’s approved budget of $951 million calls for tuition increases of $366 (or 6 percent) per year, pending approval by the Higher Education Policy Commission, for resident undergraduate students, and $764 (or 4 percent) per year, for non-resident undergraduates.
Graduate students will see similar percentage increases. Health sciences undergraduate and graduate students have varying fee structure increases (from 1.6 to 10 percent).
WVU Institute of Technology and Potomac State College will increase tuition and fees approximately 4.5 percent for in-state students. Out-of-state students at Tech will pay 4.5 percent more; Potomac State’s non-residents will pay 1.7 percent more.
Housing costs will also go up approximately 4.5 percent on all campuses.
Even with these increases, WVU’s in-state tuition is more than $3,000 less than the average of its HEPC peers, and about half the average of some of its regional competitors.
In addition, Forbes recently recognized WVU as one of the best values in the country for a quality education at an affordable cost.
Weese noted that WVU is committed to student access; therefore the University will also increase undergraduate scholarship dollars at the same pace as tuition – a practice WVU has followed for several years.
July 1 Initiatives
The Board was reminded that on July 1, two new initiatives will go into effect—an Academic Innovation unit to expand online course offerings and the technology to support faculty instruction and innovation, including massive, open online courses (MOOCs), and implementation of a tobacco-free policy for the main campus.
WVU Tech’s campus executive officer Carolyn Long hosted the meeting, updating the Board on enrollment and other matters. New student enrollment for 2013-14 looks positive, she said, based on key indicators such as the number of admits and housing deposits, especially from targeted out-of-state markets.
President Clements thanked Long for her leadership, especially the recent campus renovations and alumni outreach.
Turning to WVU’s main campus enrollment outlook, Clements said the numbers are stable and appear slightly up from last year.
He also thanked Dr. Sue Day Perroots for her presentation and leadership in online and high tech learning, and said WVU has the opportunity to be a “national leader” in academic innovation with its new educational technology structure. He also acknowledged the recent rankings of Board members – Ellen Cappellanti and Tom Flaharty – for being named Chambers’ USA “2013 Guide to America’s Leading Business Lawyers.” And he recognized Board member Diane Lewis for her recent selection as the West Virginia Small Business Person of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Association.
In other business, the Board approved:
- A new master’s program in energy law and sustainable development.
- The purchase of seven acres in Monongalia County near Granville from Mon-View LLC for a sum not to exceed $2.3 million from Athletic resources for the construction of a new baseball stadium; funding for stadium construction will come from special district excise tax revenue bonds issued by Monongalia County.
- A name change to the Department of Pediatric Dentistry (from a division).
- A name change to master’s in speech-language pathology (from speech pathology and audiology).
- A name change to master of professional studies in applied statistics (from master of professional studies in statistical and data sciences).
- A review of undergraduate programs.
- Appointments to county Extension committees.
The Board elected new officers for the coming year: James W. Dailey II, chairman; Thomas Flaherty, vice chairman; and Ellen Cappellanti, secretary.
Outgoing Chair Andrew A. (Drew) Payne III was honored with a Mountaineer statue and resolution from the BOG. He will continue as a member of the Board through 2014.
Tom Clark’s term on the Board expires June 30, and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is expected to appoint a new member by month’s end. Diane Lewis and William Wilmoth are also eligible for reappointment.
Lesley Cottrell’s term as faculty representative and Zach Redding’s term as student representative also conclude this month. They will be replaced by new Faculty Senate Chair Lisa DiBartolomeo and Student Government Association President Ryan Campione.
The Board’s next meeting is Sept. 27 in Morgantown.
CONTACT: University Relations-News
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