CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Most of the attention regarding increased tuition and fees has been focused on the state’s four-year institutions in recent months. Less publicized has been the creeping cost of tuition and fees at the state’s community and technical colleges.

Chancellor Jim Skidmore recently briefed state lawmakers on the increases, which seem modest compared to the vast jumps for the state’s colleges and universities. The average cost of tuition and fees at community or technical college increased $208 this year which is about six percent system wide. Over the last three years the costs have jumped 6.6 percent equating to an average increase of $491.

“We are a little concerned that the tuition keeps increasing. It’s a national problem,” Skidmore told members of the legislature. “I think at some point we’re going to have to decide in West Virginia how high we’re going to go on those and not price us out of the marketplace.”

Skidmore also alerted lawmakers to a growing disparity among the community and technical colleges The cost for attending the traditional stand alone community colleges is much cheaper than a community or technical school which separated from a four-year baccalaureate institution in the past decade. The problem is even though the school’s split away from their larger four year parent school, they are still bound to the capital costs of that institution. Skidmore said the most expensive is Pierpont Community and Technical College which broke away from Fairmont State.

“Pierpont’s tuition and fees are $4,400,” Skidmore said. “The majority of that is capital and auxiliary fees.”

Much like the larger four-year institutions, Skidmore said the community and technical colleges were forced to make up budget shortfalls from the pockets of students or their parents.

“Typically they use their tuition and fees to offset the budget reductions as well as addressing their operating costs and keep going some of the programs they have implemented,” he said.

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  • when will the bleeding stop

    Everything seems to continue to go up price wise except pay checks the poorer get poorer and the rich continue to find ways to keep getting richer off the poor peoples labor.

    • Gary Karstens

      Agreed! Redistribution of wealth is badly needed. The struggle is real!

  • Rick55

    I can only add congratulations to those who have availed themselves of the opportunity to use CTCs to further their education, despite the obstacles, and give them the old hang with 'em.

  • David

    He's only a little concerned?

  • Aaron

    The sad part is the return we get for our tuition dollars to these community and technical colleges. With an overall average graduation rate of just 10% and the old Bridgemont the highest in the state at 16.5%, clearly the CTC's are failing to graduate students miserably.

    One of the significant causes of a low graduation rate is the ability of students to take classes in consecutive semesters with a clear path to graduation. Far too many courses with prerequisites are only offered once a year so if a student gets out of sync due to remedial classes they can easily be in a two year degree program for three or more years.

    This is why most institutions average retention rates at less than 50%. Students sign up for classes for a year and find out that they're going to be there for longer than they thought thus they go elsewhere. Added to the woes is that nearly 80% of CTC students receive federal financial aid so the institutions are taking in new students every year, collecting federal money from the students, sending them out the door with no degree but student loan balances and then bringing in the next batch for the next go around.

    When you add all of this to the fact that many institutions required new buildings after the mandated separation which created duplicate services and hundreds of new positions statewide, I don't think the average taxpayer realizes how much money has been wasted on West Virginia's community and technical colleges.