A new report shows what it could mean if West Virginia continues to cut from higher education funding.
According to the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, while other states are restoring higher education funding, the Mountain State is cutting.
As a result, tuitions have risen dramatically and the quality of education has suffered, which will make it harder for the state to attract businesses that rely on a well-educated workforce, the report states.
“Smart investments in public colleges and universities will help to strengthen West Virginia’s economy,” Sean O’Leary, fiscal policy analyst with the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, said in a news release. “Communities with highly educated residents attract employers who pay competitive wages. Their employees then spend money in the community, boosting the economy of the entire area. That’s what West Virginia needs.”
When the recession hit in 2008 and tax revenue dropped, most states relied heavily on spending cuts rather than a more balanced mix of spending cuts and revenue increases. As a result, many states slashed funding for public colleges and universities.
With such deep cuts in higher education investment, colleges and universities have had to raise tuition, cut spending, or both. As a result, tuition at West Virginia’s four-year public colleges has grown by over 32 percent since the 2007-08 school year.
To reverse these disturbing trends, the report says, West Virginia needs to make higher education a priority.