“Higher Tax” Will Burden WV Students
West Virginia’s Governor, James C. “Jim” Justice, II, says that the tuition hikes at West Virginia University, Marshall University, and West Virginia State University can be attributed directly to cuts approved by the West Virginia Legislature earlier in June of 2017.
On Wednesday, Marshall’s Board of Governors okayed the raise in tuition and fees to make up for the $4.2 million budget cut instituted by state lawmakers. It will result in an annual hike for West Virginia undergraduate students of $644, while in-state graduate students will pay an additional $668. Following a 4.88% cut from the West Virginia Legislature, WVSU announced that they will be raising tuition this year $350 for in-state students. WVU was cut $8.7 million by the Legislature and its BOG reacted, Thursday, increasing tuition 5%. Annual undergraduate in-state tuition at WVU was raised $384 with graduate in-state tuition being hiked to $450.
“I’ve tried since February to impress upon the citizens of our state and the state Legislature that massive cuts to higher education institutions were just going to hurt our young people and their ability to get a degree,” says Justice. “I had a plan to make sure this wouldn’t happen but the Legislature dissed me. The hurting has started and it is going to get worse as we move into a new fiscal year.”
Justice adds, “This didn’t have to take place. You can’t cut to the bone and not feel it. I truly feel bad for the thousands of students at many of our state schools of higher learning that are going to have pay substantially more now for their education. It’s nothing more than a tax on our young people. Unfortunately, I’m sure it will also prevent some from even going to college.”
Citing West Virginia’s low ranking, in key areas, Justice says, “It’s just plain wrong and it’s the same kind of backward thinking that’s left us 50th. Again, this was not my idea or what I wanted. All West Virginians must know that their elected legislators are squarely responsible for this and the carnage that’s going to be felt in many other areas in the days and weeks to come.”
Who is to blame? Justice tosses the blame to both sides of the political aisle.
“I warned West Virginians about what would happen if my plan didn’t get approved and sadly, a significant number of Democrats and Republicans in the Legislature that represent them weren’t listening,” Justice states. “I wasn’t crying wolf; this is reality and I’m sad for the people of our state. We’ll never, ever stop being 50th in anything as long as we continue to shortchange the future of our state—our young people.”