CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Higher education leaders in West Virginia are recommending the state legislature fund $10 million in capital improvement projects for the state’s colleges and universities. The original list was $1.4 billion.
Bob Plymale, the State Senate Education Committee chairman, said recently he believes funding should be connected to performance—perhaps being contingent upon retention rates.
“If (rates) have to increase, they have to improve,” said Plymale, advocating a funding system “with the idea of ‘Hey, if we are giving you these funds, we have to look at it overall.’”
The actual capital improvement package being recommended is for $19.3 million, but almost half would come from the schools themselves.
Plymale also said more focus needs to be placed on community and technical colleges.
“The community colleges are going to be our portal into the new economy as much as if not greater than the four-year institutions,” he said. “When we start looking at capital project priorities those are the areas I would really like to see us think out of the box.”
Plymale said a place like Blue Ridge Community and Technical College in Martinsburg should begin getting attention. He said it’s now the third-largest higher education institution in the state.
“You’ve got WVU, Marshall and Blue Ridge, and if you do the analysis correctly we should be doing everything possible to assist them in their growth,” Plymale said.