The Parthenon

West Virginia has room to improve in higher education

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Higher education has been one of the main targets for state budget cuts in West Virginia for many years. This year is no exception.

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has proposed hypothetical cuts, according to a Charleston Gazette-Mail article, to combat the 6.5 percent cut in the state’s budget for 2016-2017.

One of the cuts proposed is eliminating the Promise Scholarship, a scholarship given to high school students who attend an in state college or university and has a cumulative grade point average of 3.0. Other grants are also proposed to cut along with this scholarship.

The scholarship provides a reward for exceptional work in high school while also providing an incentive for students to choose to further their education at an in-state university or college. However, if this scholarship is eliminated from the budget, some students will not have a reason to stay in West Virginia. Students who do decide to stay in state for college would then have to pay more out of pocket, creating a bigger grievance on those students and families.

The average cost to attend a four-year university in West Virginia is about $4,000 for one semester. This cost does not include the textbooks required for classes, additional fees for certain programs and housing for those who choose to live on campus. 

This is not the only cut to higher education proposed in the hypothetical cuts, however. In an article for the Charleston Gazette-Mail, the Promise is not the only cut being potentially targeted, but universities as well. The proposed cuts could mean 350 positions eliminated to the state’s colleges and universities. Program funding would also be a result of the cut to higher education. 

These cuts have not been approved, but the cut would have a noticeable effect on West Virginia’s population. 

With the proposed budget cuts, higher education West Virginia has room to improve. It is understandable budget cuts need to be made somewhere, but proposing these cuts would not help West Virginia as a whole. By eliminating funding through scholarships and cutting job positions, students and faculty will look to other states for education and jobs.

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