INSTITUTE, W.Va. — A 7 percent increase in tuition for in-state students at West Virginia State University is directly linked to a line-item veto decision from Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.
WVSU Board of Governors Chair Tom Susman said State is still trying to catch-up financially after the school’s community and technical college broke away from the institution a few years ago. He said the legislature approved additional funding in next year’s state budget for $1 million but the governor used his veto pen and took it out.
“Had that not happened we would not have had to do the (tuition) increases,” Susman said.
The hikes passed Thursday will add $434 to WVSU’s annual tuition and fees, taking the amount to approximately $6,600, which is still a competitive price according to Susman. Although he acknowledged the board of governors has now increased tuition by 21 percent in the last three years.
“We hope for West Virginia State University that in the future we don’t have to take these steps and we’re in a position where we can move forward,” he said. “Our problem is the state keeps making cuts to our base funding.”
The new state budget cuts $7 million in funding for higher education statewide, the third straight budget decrease. Susman said the school has done its part by reducing employment by 100 positions in recent years and cutting nearly $8 million out of its budget.
Susman said the governor sent a message with his line-item veto.
“By not passing the increased appropriation that’s basically a transfer of responsibility from the state to individual students. That’s kind of the policy decision put forth by the veto,” he said.
The WVSU Board of Governors also increased tuition and fees for out-of-state students and graduate students. The increases go into effect with the fall semester.
State’s former community and technical college is now part of BridgeValley Community and Technical College located in South Charleston just a few miles away from State’s Institute campus.