INSTITUTE, W.Va. — Students at West Virginia State University could soon be paying more to go to college.

The WVSU Board of Governors approved the 2019 budget Friday which includes a suggested 5 percent increase for tuition and fees.

Anthony Jenkins, university president, said the potential funds would go directly to enhancing student programs.

“If we increase our tuition 3, 4 or 5 percent, it is not going to pad people’s salaries. They will tell you we haven’t had a raise in 5 or 6 years. The money is for the students. It’s about enhancing the quality of their education on this campus,” he said.

The board plans to finalize an allocation plan for the increase next month.

Jenkins said the tuition and fees schedule, which is still up for a vote, needs to be ironed out. He said the board plans to determine where the money will be dispensed.

“Is 1 percent going to housing? Is 0.5 percent going to parking? That’s the only piece or the specific details that we’re going to go back now and finish flushing out and then bring that back so that the board understands where I’m going to allocate those dollars,” he said.

Raising the cost of tuition is never a favorable move, Jenkins indicated, but with rising costs in high-tech program fees, he said it’s necessary.

“When we roll out engineering programs, science programs, forensic science and all of these high-tech majors that costs more to deliver that instruction, then that’s additional cost that we the institution have to take on,” he explained.

Jenkins said every time they raise tuition, they make sure it remains affordable. He said WVSU has one of the lowest tuition rates in the state.

“We are going to be committed to make sure our tuition remains low, but we also want to make sure that the quality of our education in the services that we provide our students doesn’t suffer,” he said.

The average tuition for an in-state WVSU student who lives on campus is about $6,000 per year.

Jenkins said the proposed increase would affect students beginning in Fall 2018.

The board’s next meeting is scheduled for May 11.