West Virginia University approves $7M in staff cuts, 3% tuition increase

Jun 23, 2023, 12:10 PM

FILE - The Mountainlair Student Union on West Virginia University downtown campus stands on April, ...

FILE - The Mountainlair Student Union on West Virginia University downtown campus stands on April, 24, 2015, in Morgantown, W.Va. With more cuts expected, the university's governing board moved forward Friday, June 23, 2023, with slashing 12 graduate and doctoral programs amid a $45 million budget shortfall and approved a just under 3 percent tuition increase. (AP Photo/Raymond Thompson, File)

(AP Photo/Raymond Thompson, File)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — With more cuts expected, West Virginia University’s governing board moved forward Friday with slashing 12 graduate and doctorate programs amid a $45 million budget shortfall and approved a just under 3 percent tuition increase.

The estimated $1.2 billion fiscal year 2024 budget approved by the institution’s Board of Governors includes $7 million in staff cuts, or around 132 positions, including 38 faculty members.

For an undergraduate in-state resident, per-semester tuition will rise to $4,824, a $132 increase. Out-of-state undergraduates will pay $13,680 per semester, a $396 increase.

The public land-grant research university has been conducting a multi-year review of its programs to try to offset the growing deficit. President Gordan Gee and other top university officials say the shortfall, which officials say could rise to $75 million in five years, is largely a result of enrollment declines. The student population at West Virginia University has declined 10% since 2015.

Gee has also cited the factors of inflation stress and increases to premiums the school is required to pay for the state’s government employees’ health insurance program, PEIA, passed by the state Legislature earlier this year.

“This process is obviously challenging and at times painful for the University community. It is, however, necessary,” Gee said Friday.

In 2021, the University began its first review of master’s and PhD degree programs academic offerings to identify “programs of concern” using enrollment, graduate rate and job market data.

The 12 programs cut include graduate studies tracks for finance, instructional design and technology, and elementary and secondary education, as well as the school’s doctorate accounting program. Appeals by the instructional design and technology and finance programs were denied in April.

Programs and majors will stop admitting students after the start of the 2023-24 academic year. Officials said when a program is approved to be discontinued, it goes through a sunset and teach out process to ensure enrolled students are able to complete the program within a reasonable amount of time.

Three graduate programs that will be entirely preserved are graduate programs in special education, communication studies and journalism. Just over 20 others are currently being assessed with improvement plans.

The review of all academic programs underway now, “with the added goal of creating a smaller and more focused program portfolio,” said Maryanne Reed, provost and vice president of academic affairs for West Virginia University.

A list of programs “tagged for further review” will be made available the week of July 10, according to the university.

“This has been a very stressful time for our campuses and we are doing everything we can to support faculty and staff, who may be struggling with the uncertainty of how these changes will impact them,” Reed said during Friday’s meeting.

Last week, 55 faculty members signed and released an open letter opposing the reductions and calling the layoffs “unprecedented.” They said the process will damage the institution’s status as a research institution and that decision making about layoffs has not been transparent.

In a West Virginia University Faculty Senate meeting earlier this month, administrators struggled to identify the metrics they are using to evaluate programs and terminate faculty, even though layoffs have already begun, the letter alleges.

“Administrators claim down-sizing will be ‘student-centered,’ but the inconsistencies in program review practices suggest the academic ‘transformation’ is, at best, proceeding by financial guess work,” the faculty said.

During Friday’s meeting, the board also endorsed the merger of the University’s College of Creative Arts and the Reed College of Media, announced last week. Leadership from both colleges will work this summer to map out the new school.

In May 2021, the university announced plans for the first significant merger of two colleges with the creation of the new College of Applied Human Sciences.

United States News

FILE -Oakland County Judge Kwame Rowe looks towards witness during cross examination, July 27, 2023...

Associated Press

Michigan judge to decide whether Oxford High School shooter gets life in prison or chance at parole

PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) — A teenager who killed four students at Michigan’s Oxford High School will learn Friday whether he will spend his life in prison or get a chance for parole in the decades ahead. Judge Kwame Rowe will announce his decision over video conference, weeks after hearing from experts who clashed over Ethan […]

2 hours ago

FILE - From left, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., and Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa...

Associated Press

The far right has been feuding with McCarthy for weeks. Here’s how it’s spiraling into a shutdown.

WASHINGTON (AP) — With little time left to prevent a government shutdown, the House is in a familiar position: effectively paralyzed as conservatives feud with Speaker Kevin McCarthy over matters large and small. McCarthy has pushed the Republican conference to embrace a short-term funding plan that would also include a sweeping Republican proposal for the […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

186.000 migrants and refugees arrived in southern Europe so far this year, most in Italy, UN says

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. refugee agency said Thursday that some 186,000 migrants and refugees arrived in southern Europe so far this year, the vast majority in Italy. Between January and Sept. 24, over 2,500 people seeking to cross the Mediterranean were found dead or are still missing, a significant increase from the 1,680 […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Hawaii authorities search for man with handgun he gets into scuffle on Army base and flees

HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii authorities were looking for a man who fled with a handgun after getting into a scuffle while trying to talk to soldiers at an Army base, officials said. No shots were fired but the Army treated it as an “active shooter situation” and two military bases on Oahu went into lockdown […]

4 hours ago

FILE - Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., leaves the chamber at the Capitol in Washingt...

Associated Press

McCarthy rejects Senate spending bill while scrambling for a House plan that averts a shutdown

A government shutdown appeared all but inevitable as House Speaker Kevin McCarthy dug in Thursday.

4 hours ago

Associated Press

Navy issues written reprimands for fuel spill that sickened 6,000 people at Pearl Harbor base

HONOLULU (AP) — The Navy on Thursday issued written reprimands to three now-retired military officers for their roles in the spill of jet fuel into Pearl Harbor’s drinking water in 2021 but did not fire, suspend, dock the pay or reduce the rank of anyone for the incident. The spill from the Red Hill Bulk […]

5 hours ago

Sponsored Articles



Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.


Mayo Clinic

Game on! Expert sports physicals focused on you

With tryouts quickly approaching, now is the time for parents to schedule physicals for their student-athlete. The Arizona Interscholastic Association requires that all student-athletes must have a physical exam completed before participating in team practices or competition.


OCD & Anxiety Treatment Center

5 mental health myths you didn’t know were made up

Helping individuals understand mental health diagnoses like obsessive compulsive spectrum disorder or generalized anxiety disorder isn’t always an easy undertaking. After all, our society tends to spread misconceptions about mental health like wildfire. This is why being mindful about how we talk about mental health is so important. We can either perpetuate misinformation about already […]

West Virginia University approves $7M in staff cuts, 3% tuition increase