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WV budget impasse puts higher ed in fiscal limbo

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia’s public universities and colleges must submit institutional budgets for approval by the end of June, but the lack of a state budget has left many higher education leaders guessing how much money will be available next year.

“We’ve tightened up on a lot of things,” said Mary Ellen Heuton, Marshall University’s chief financial officer.

Universities are now in the midst of budgeting season, balancing accounts so boards of governors can determine if cuts are needed or if student tuition needs to be raised to cover any shortfalls.

By this time in the year, universities have a general idea of how much they’ll receive from the state in appropriations. However, hanging over the institutional process now is a state budget impasse, which is the result of the Legislature and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin not being able to agree on how to close a gaping $238.8 million funding shortfall.

Despite having an extended session to pass a budget bill, the Legislature decided to wait until later this spring to tackle the state’s funding woes.

Meanwhile, universities are left wondering…

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