The West Virginia University Board of Governors on Friday approved an estimated $1.1 billion budget for the coming fiscal year, including a nearly 2% increase in tuition across the WVU system.
Resident-students will see a 1.87% increase or $84 per semester increase while tuition for non-resident students will rise by 1.99% or $252 per semester – both include a $24 university fee increase, $12 of which will support added mental health services.
“COVID-19 presented unprecedented challenges, but we have navigated the pandemic with careful financial planning and stewardship, holding the line on tuition in 2021, increasing need-based scholarship opportunities for our students and reducing costs whenever possible,” said Paula Congelio, vice president for finance and chief financial officer. “Now, as we look to a full return to campus this fall, we are increasing investment in our students’ experience and investing in our employees with a planned raise program.”
Anticipating a 1.5% decline in state appropriations in 2022, Congelio noted the University must plan for the future as it continues to balance the uncertainties of the ongoing pandemic.
Other budget assumptions include:
- A first-time freshmen enrollment of 4,301 on the Morgantown campus, down from 4,508.
- Housing revenue increase of 3% in Morgantown and Keyser with an anticipated flat occupancy rate compared to FY 2021.
- Increase in scholarship expense as more returning students met eligibility parameters.
- A slight increase in revenue from grants and contracts.
- $5 million in COVID-19 related expenses.
WVU announced plans earlier this month for a full return to campus in August. Vice President for Strategic Initiatives Rob Alsop provided Board members with details on planning and the University’s ongoing COVID-19 response.
In addition, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Maryanne Reed briefed the Board on the academic transformation process, outlining results of an initial review which identified 40 growth opportunities.
“These include programs that we currently offer but that have room to grow, new programs that are already in the pipeline and programs that we could offer in the future based on growing market needs,” Reed explained, pointing to examples such as WVU’s computer science major, online master’s in cybersecurity, neuroscience, forensic science and a new major in Mental Health and Addiction Studies.
A total of 27 undergraduate programs and 19 graduate programs have been identified for further review. Reed explained that the names of the programs are not being shared yet, because information and additional data gathering is being gathered before reports are due Sept. 1.
Reed also provided an update on several academic restructuring efforts being planned, as well as the decision to merge the College of Education and Human Services with the College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences.
David Alvarez closed his last meeting as BOG chair by recognizing outgoing members Emily Murphy (faculty representative), Chase Riggs (student representative) and Bill Wilmoth who has served on the Board since 2011.
“David has done a wonderful job as our Board chair,” President Gordon Gee said. “I have often thought during my time here, we have always had the right chair at the right time. We value and appreciate you, and personally, I cherish our friendship.”
Current Vice-Chairman Tom Jones will assume the duties of chairman; Taunja Willis Miller will move from secretary to vice-chairman; and Richard Pill, pending reappointment by Gov. Jim Justice, will serve as secretary.
The next regularly scheduled meeting is set for Sept. 17.