The West Virginia University Board of Governors on Friday approved an estimated $1.2 billion budget for the coming fiscal year, including a tuition increase averaging a little more than 2.5% across the WVU system.
Resident-students will see a 2.62% increase or $120 per semester increase while tuition for non-resident students will rise by 2.88% or $372 per semester – both include a $12 university fee increase, calculated in part to pay for the costs associated with the Rec Center located in the new Reynolds Hall.
Housing rates will rise by 3% except at WVU Tech in Beckley, and driven in part by inflation, dining fees will increase by 4.5%.
“We remain extremely aware of our students and their families as they face the financial aspects of obtaining a college education, and so we are increasing scholarship opportunities to help students continue to pursue their purpose here at WVU,” said Paula Congelio, vice president for finance and chief financial officer. “At the same time, the University is also experiencing the effects of inflation as prices for goods, services and travel increase.”
The University anticipates a negative adjusted operating margin in the coming year despite slight increases in grants and contracts due to numerous factors including a decline in enrollment relating to COVID-19 and the fact that WVU will not receive federal or state moneys relating to COVID-19 in Fiscal Year 2023. Congelio told the Board the FY 2023 budget includes $1.159 billion of revenues and $1.207 billion of operating and non-operating expenses.
Another contributor is the compensation program providing raises for employees. WVU had planned for increases before the governor proposed raises for employees earlier this year and the legislature approved a plan. State funding accounts for $4.67 million of the $16.2 million needed to fund the salary increases.
“We really wanted to take care of our employees, especially in light of the current economic challenges we know so many are dealing with,” Vice President for Strategic Initiatives Rob Alsop said. “The average increase was 4-5%, and we also raised the starting minimum hourly compensation for WVU employees to $13.”
Also, during Friday’s meeting, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Maryanne Reed shared the Provost Office recommendation to discontinue the masters in energy systems engineering program as part of ongoing Academic Transformation.
Reed then detailed the summer Country Roads Scholars Tour which takes faculty, students and other WVU leaders into communities across the state to learn and participate in service activities including earlier this month in Kanawha and Clay counties.
President Gordon Gee joined the tour for its most recent stops. He also told the Board about his own annual summer county tour and a trip in May to Pocahontas County High School where he presented Sarah Warder with a Foundation Scholarship – the first for a student from that county.
“I am very humbled and inspired moved by these visits,” Gee said. “This special connection between the University and state communities is our calling. There is no other institution in the state that has that connection as its mission and motivation. We are fiercely land-grant, and the county tours help to remind and reaffirm that commitment.”
Board members approved moving forward to finalize an operating agreement for West Virginia University Innovation Corporation with respect to the former Mylan facility on Chestnut Ridge Road in Morgantown.
In other action, the Board advanced numerous ongoing capital projects, including lighting upgrades to the Canady Creative Arts Center and development of the Ascend WV co-working space in Morgantown. Members also approved continued evaluation of properties at the former WVU Tech campus in Montgomery, discontinuation of several degree programs and the addition of others – specifically bachelor’s degrees in pharmaceuticals and healthcare at Potomac State College and art and design at the College of Creative Arts.
The University will also post 11 BOG Rules for public comment beginning Monday, June 27, after the Board issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to potentially clarify certain provisions and update the Rules to reflect changes that have occurred since their adoption.
Chairman Tom Jones ended the meeting with thanks to outgoing Board members, immediate past President of Student Government Association Amaya Jernigan, immediate past Chair David Alvarez and longtime Board member Ed Robinson.
The next regularly scheduled meeting is set for Sept. 9.
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