The future for area universities could look quite different 

June 25 – West Virginia University announced yesterday a tuition increase and a cut on some majors offered at the college. 

WVU has been in trouble financially for years now, so this decision may have been a long time coming, actually. 

Attorney Clint Barkdoll said, “Remember, a year or so ago, they did massive cuts to majors. They had to eliminate a bunch of programs due to budgetary concerns. If you look at that announcement yesterday, not only is there a tuition increase, not only are there going to be cuts to programs, but they are talking about the fact that the trend lines all show decreasing enrollment in higher education, not only in West Virginia, but around the country.”

There are definitely parallels to Penn State University in PA. 

Barkdoll noted, “We know that the new president, she’s looking at big budget cuts. They just did that buyout program for staff. They’re consolidating some operations. We know that a lot of chancellors have been essentially forced out, so all of these places are looking at similar dynamics right now, and it’s not favorable. I mean, the only way to work through this is major belt tightening, and it’s going to be a combination of budget and program cuts with tuition increases.”

The Penn State Mont Alto chancellor is leaving.  

Barkdoll said, “I don’t know what the back story is here yet. Did he take the buyout? Did he just voluntarily retire? He had been there many years, but when you go back a couple weeks ago, when Penn State made that restructuring announcement, Mont Alto and York and Brandywine campuses are now consolidated under one Chancellor. So essentially, the other two chancellors were out, whether that was voluntary or they just saw what was coming. Penn State did that all around their system, all around those commonwealth campuses. As I said at the time, this saves a lot of money to Penn State, but you do wonder, are they laying the groundwork for even further consolidation? When you have one chancellor overseeing three campuses, you could envision very easily how they might try to merge or consolidate operations. They’ve not gone that far to say that yet, but could this be the first step?”