HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — The new executive vice chancellor for higher education in West Virginia is seeking to compromise with state leaders on higher education funding.
“We need more funding for higher education,” Matt Turner, chief of staff at Marshall University, told MetroNews just hours after he was tabbed as executive vice chancellor of the Mountain State’s four-year and two-year college systems. “The budget is a challenge right now and families are challenged so we have to find some middle ground there.”
State funding for higher education has slipped in recent years, with campus leaders responding by increasing tuition and fees. That has led college students to borrow more money.
“We have a real challenge in this state and that is insuring more West Virginians go to college and graduate,” Turner said Monday. “Now it’s not just getting them in college, providing access, it’s also making sure that we retain them after that freshmen year and they complete their college goals in a time frame that keeps their debt to a minimum.”
Turner said by 2018 most jobs in the state are going to require at least two years of college.
Turner, who will work for Higher Education Policy Commission chancellor Paul Hill and state Community and Technical College chancellor Jim Skidmore, plans to begin his post Aug. 1.
Before his Marshall post, Turner worked in the communications office for former Gov. Joe Manchin and spent time at the state Division of Tourism. He replaces Rob Anderson, who took a vice chancellor’s post within the University of Georgia system.