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WVU awaiting on state budget solution before setting tuition

President Gee, BOG Chair Flaherty address budget stalemate and implications in letter to staff, students

Release from WVU Today:
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University Board of Governors was unable today, June 16, to complete a budget or set tuition rates for the coming fiscal and academic years given continuing legislative negotiations over a state budget.

“We are not able to proceed because we – along with the rest of the state – are waiting for a state budget to be adopted in Charleston,” said Board Chair Thomas V. Flaherty.

The Board had held a special meeting on May 26 at which it had planned to, at minimum, set tuition and adopt parameters to guide the future budget preparation. However the decision had to be postponed then as well because of the budget uncertainty.

“While state support accounts for 15 percent of the University’s revenues, that 15 percent is a significant amount that funds crucial components of the budget.” Flaherty said. “Because the information coming from Charleston has had such widely, and quickly, varying numbers regarding higher education support, it is simply impossible to craft a budget with such a huge unknown.”

Flaherty said the Board is doing all it can in the meantime to be ready to move swiftly once a budget is passed.

“With the beginning of fall classes only weeks away, students and parents need to know what tuition will be and the financial support that will be available,” he said. “I want to reassure them, on behalf of the entire Board of Governors, that we will move quickly once a state budget is available, and will call a special meeting to complete the process.”

Flaherty also addressed the concern that the budget delay could lead to a shutdown of state government on June 30.

“We are cautiously optimistic there will not be a state shutdown,” he said. “We believe that our state leaders understand the disastrous impact, both short- and long-term, that such an act would have — not only on the University but the entire state. We believe, and fervently hope, they will avoid a shutdown at all costs” he said. “Nevertheless, while we can hope for the best, we must prepare for the worst and we are doing that to the best of our ability.

“We are looking hard at a variety of actions, using all the tools at our disposal, to mitigate the impact of any shutdown – especially on those for whom the loss of even one paycheck could create incredible hardships. It is not possible, however, to provide specifics because they simply do not exist at this time.”

Flaherty noted that WVU Medicine’s hospitals, clinics, physicians and other healthcare professions would continue to operate as normal.

“In this time of great uncertainty, the one thing I can say with certainty is this: The West Virginia University system is a family — and we will do our very best to take care of our family,” Flaherty said.

 

In a letter to West Virginia University faculty, staff and students, Gee said, “I know you are all concerned about the status of the state budget, especially as the deadline to avoid a shutdown creeps closer. I want to assure you that I personally, along with others in our administration, are working day and night on multiple fronts to prevent that from happening, and – in the unlikely event it does – how we will proceed.”

Here is the text of the letter:

Dear faculty, staff and students:

I know you are all concerned about the status of the state budget, especially as the deadline to avoid a shutdown creeps closer. I want to assure you that I personally, along with others in our administration, are working day and night on multiple fronts to prevent that from happening, and – in the unlikely event it does – how we will proceed.

I will continue to keep you updated as the situation develops.

In the meantime, I want to share with you a statement given today at the Board of Governor’s meeting by Chairman Thomas V. Flaherty. It sums up our current situation.

Statement by Thomas V. Flaherty, chair of the West Virginia University Board of Governors:

Today we had planned to adopt a budget for the University – including setting tuition and fees — for the coming fiscal year. However, we are not able to proceed because we – along with the rest of the state – are waiting for a state budget to be adopted in Charleston.

While state support accounts for 15 percent of the University’s revenues, that 15 percent is a significant amount that funds crucial components of the budget. Because the information coming from Charleston has had such widely, and quickly, varying numbers regarding higher education support, it is simply impossible to craft a budget with such a huge unknown.

We are keenly aware of the uncertainty and growing anxiety in the University community. With the beginning of fall classes only weeks away, students and parents need to know what tuition will be and the financial support that will be available. I want to reassure them, on behalf of the entire Board of Governors, that we will move quickly once a state budget is available, and will call a special meeting to complete the process.

The lack of a state budget, and the accompanying discussion of a possible state shutdown, also is of great concern to our faculty and staff – as well as the many individuals who are touched by the University around the state.

On that subject, let me first say that we are cautiously optimistic that there will not be a state shutdown. We believe that our state leaders understand the disastrous impact, both short– and long-term, that such an act would have – not only on the University but the entire state. We believe, and fervently hope, they will avoid a shutdown at all costs.

Nevertheless, while we can hope for the best, we must prepare for the worst and we are doing that to the best of our ability.

Let me reassure our University employees, both faculty and staff, that we are looking hard at a variety of actions, using all the tools at our disposal, to mitigate the impact of any shutdown – especially on those for whom the loss of even one paycheck could create incredible hardships. It is not possible, however, to provide specifics because they simply do not exist at this time.

The ramifications of a shutdown are far-reaching, and it is not simply a matter of ceasing operations. We have already identified many issues that would need to be addressed. There are hours and hours of preparation and “what if” scenarios to be considered before ceasing operations can happen.

It is important to note, however, that WVU Medicine – our hospitals, clinics and healthcare professionals — will continue to operate as normal.

So in this time of great uncertainty, the one thing I can say with certainty is this: The West Virginia University system is a family – and we will do our very best to take care of our family.

Sincerely,

E. Gordon Gee
President, West Virginia University

In other business at today’s meet, the Board:

• Heard a report from General Counsel Stephanie Taylor about the process of re-evaluating and updating Board and University policies and rules to comply with legislation passed earlier this year giving universities broader ability for governance and operations.

• Approved the termination of several majors at Potomac State College because of lack of enrollment.

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