By JAKE JARVIS
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Students at West Virginia State University will pay 5 percent more for tuition and fees when school starts again in August.
WVSU president Anthony Jenkins decided to raise the cost Wednesday after the Legislature cut his school’s state funds by 4.88 percent, or almost $490,000.
“We can’t continue to fund higher education and the function of our institution on the back of our students like this,” Jenkins said.
When the school’s governing board met in April, members authorized Jenkins to raise tuition and fees by as much as 10 percent once the Legislature had agreed on a budget. Jenkins said that a University Fee Committee has been meeting during the past several months to consider how much tuition and fees should increase.
Faculty, staff members and students were all members of the committee. The committee recommended that Jenkins raise tuition and fees by 5 percent, and he agreed.
“That was our game plan all along, because we didn’t know if we were going to have some kind of shutdown on July 1 with the state Legislature, if they were going to go over, if we were going to have a 2 percent cut — we didn’t know what would happen,” Jenkins said.
For undergraduate students: in-state students will pay $350 more a year, out-of-state students will pay $778 more a year and metro students will pay an additional $606 each year. The metro rate gives students from Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia a 25 percent discount from the normal out-of-state cost to attract more students from those states.
Although WVSU’s funding was cut, Jenkins said the cuts could have been worse if the Legislature had cut the school’s land-grant funding. WVSU’s land-grant funding is a separate line item in the budget.
The school stood to lose more than $2.9 million federal dollars had the legislature cut State’s land-grant funding even marginally — by just $77,000, according to Orlando McMeans, the school’s vice president for research and public service.
That $2.9 million comes from the United States Department of Agriculture because the school, with the Morrill Act of 1890, is designated as a land-grant school. This designation lets the school access more money for the department, so long as the state matches each federal dollar.
The secretary of the USDA can waive the matching rule, so long as the school receives at least a 50 percent match from the state. The state currently is only matching those federal dollars by 52 percent, Jenkins said.
The Legislature maintained WVSU’s land-grant funding and did not cut it.
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