Opinion

WVU’s financial success benefits entire state

An editorial from The Exponent Telegram

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — West Virginia University is a billion-dollar-per-year industry, with a billion dollars in assets as an academic institution and an additional $2.5 billion in assets from health care operations. Combined, WVU has over $3.5 billion in assets. Those figures were part of the report on the university’s performance during the recent fiscal year, which ended June 30.

President E. Gordon Gee noted that WVU is “a very buttoned up institution, and we should take pride in that.” He also noted that, when health care operations are included, WVU has more than $3.5 billion in assets, putting it “in a very rarefied atmosphere.”

“Rarefied” indeed. WVU has proven to be a strong economic engine that is driving much of the economic development growth in North Central West Virginia, as well as across the state.

“In general, we had a good year, especially considering the fact that we experienced a decline in state support,” Senior Associate Vice President for Finance Dan Durbin said.

Total state support fell by nearly $20 million in the last two years as a result of permanent base budget reductions.

“Our performance was better than budget and exceeded last year. The university remains financially stable. We have a stable balance sheet and good liquidity,” Durbin said, noting that operating margins and cash on hand have improved even while long-term debt has increased.

Durbin noted that in the last fiscal year, WVU provided $102 million in institution-funded scholarships, compared to $90 million two years ago. That is remarkable considering the ongoing base funding cuts from the state budget.

However, WVU officials have proven that, presented with the challenge of fewer public tax dollars supporting higher education in West Virginia, the state’s land grant institution has the talent and the moxie to adapt and continue to operate in a prudent financial manner…

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