The West Virginia University Board of Governors, after two days of meetings, approved on Friday (June 23) a balanced budget for the coming fiscal year aimed at streamlining and strengthening the WVU System for the future.
The estimated $1.2 billion FY 24 budget also acknowledges and seeks to address the financial hurdles WVU and many other universities are navigating through an estimated $33 million in increased revenues, including one-time-use resources from the WVU Foundation and reduced expenses totaling nearly $10 million, $7 million of which comes from a reduction in the number of employees.
Under the plan, housing and dining fees will see modest increases to help offset inflation and a rise in the cost of goods and services. Tuition and fees will increase slightly less than 3%.
“We take every tuition increase very seriously, but we work diligently to leverage federal, state and externally funded financial aid to our students so the cost is manageable,” said Paula Congelio, vice president and chief financial officer. “The University has also increased the amount of unfunded institutional aid provided to students and expects this amount to exceed $134 million in 2024.”
One example is WVU Pledge, the new last-dollar-in scholarship program announced earlier this year that assists qualifying Promise scholars who have an expected family contribution of zero with their cost of tuition, fees, University housing and a meal plan.
With these measures, the University remains competitive among its Big 12 and regional peers. Importantly, average student loan debt for May 2022 WVU graduates earning bachelor’s degrees was well below the national average, and 41% graduated with zero debt.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Maryanne Reed provided an update on Academic Transformation efforts which began in 2021, noting her office has completed the graduate portfolio review resulting in 12 programs being recommended and approved by the Board for discontinuation.
A second phase of Academic Transformation launched this spring and is designed to help the University navigate its current structural budget deficit.
“Our second review of all academic programs is well underway, with the added goal of creating a smaller and more focused program portfolio — aligned with student demand, career opportunities and market trends,” Reed said.
A June 27 virtual Campus Conversation will provide additional updates on the University’s transformation initiatives. An in-depth timeline, FAQ and other resources are available at transformation.wvu.edu.
A list of academic programs tagged for further review will be shared the week of July 10, along with data, analysis and details on the decision-making process.
President Gordon Gee shared his thanks to Provost Reed and her team for their work.
“This process is obviously challenging and at times painful for the University community. It is, however, necessary that we reposition ourselves today to be a responsive, relevant university system of the future,” Gee said.
The Board approved a resolution approving an application for state funding for more than a dozen deferred maintenance projects on the Morgantown, Beckley and Keyser campuses.
Administrators received approval to secure a vendor agreement for the Enterprise Resource Planning System, part of the WVU Modernization Project, addressing needs to upgrade to a new cloud-based system for finance, human resources and student information systems.
Among the items on its consent agenda, the Board of Governors:
· Approved leasing Willowbend Farm in Monroe County.
· Renewed authorization to transfer buildings and property in Montgomery related to the former WVU Tech campus.
Chairman Tom Jones, who will become immediate past chair as Taunja Willis Miller was elected to serve as the new Board chair, ended the meeting with thanks to outgoing Board members Ben Statler and Marty Becker, immediate past President of Student Government Association Chloe Hernandez, Classified Staff Representative Lisa Martin, and Faculty Representative Ashley Martucci.
The next regular BOG meeting is scheduled for July 31.
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