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Gov. Justice blames tuition, fees hikes on West Virginia legislature

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said Thursday the hike in tuition at three West Virginia universities is the direct reflection on the state legislature’s actions. (WCHS/WVAH)

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said Thursday the hike in tuition at many of West Virginia universities is the direct reflection on the state legislature’s actions.

Justice said in a news release 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 this month.”

“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,” Justice said in the release.

Last month, a state budget was passed that included large cuts to education. Under the new budget, higher education took a $16 million hit with WVU and Marshall taking a 6.4 percent cut each.

The state’s other four year universities, including WVSU, lost 4 percent of their state funding.

"When we get huge cuts, universities must maintain the quality of the buildings, their campuses... a sizable tuition increase often means for families that they have to look at whether not they choose to actually educate their children and it's very disheartening,” Marshall University Professor Marybeth Beller said last month. "Those children lose out on their futures and the state loses out on an educated citizen."

Justice did not sign the bill, but allowed it to pass by not signing it.

"I can't possibly put my name on it. I'm just going to let it go into law," Justice said.

On Wednesday, Marshall’s Board of Governor’s approved a hike in tuition and fees to make up for the $4.2 million budget cut.

WVSU announced it will also be raising tuition. In-state students will pay an average of $350 more annually.

In Morgantown, WVU’s budget was cut $8.7 million. In response, WVU’s Board of Governor’s approved a 5 percent tuition increase on Thursday. That increase will raise tuition by $384 for in-state undergraduate students and $450 for in-state graduate students.

According to the release from the governor, the cuts will result in an annual hike of $644 for West Virginia undergraduate students and $668 for in-state graduate students.

At this time, no West Virginia legislators have responded to Justice's release.


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