PARKERSBURG - The West Virginia University at Parkersburg Board of Governors approved a 10 percent tuition hike Wednesday for community college students.
Chief Financial Officer Vincent Mensah pointed out the rising costs of general operations, faculty and staff, student services, technological advances and capital improvements.
"The college has a lot of needs," said Mensah. "Even if we implement the 10 percent increase, and other colleges do not increase their rates, our tuition rates will still be among the lowest in the state."
WVU-P Board of Governors members Steve Chancey, left, and Gregory Smith listen to a presentation on phase one construction of the college’s downtown building. (Photo by Natalee Seely)
For certificate and associate degree-seeking students, the tuition increase would mean an extra $220 for the entire year, or an extra $9.17 per credit hour. For baccalaureate degree-seeking students, tuition would increase by $314 for the year, or $13.08 per credit hour.
Most student fees would remain the same.
WVU-P President Marie Foster Gnage said the tuition increase would support the needs of the institution as well as student activities.
"More and more students are getting engaged in activities. We really want to be able to say that we invest in our students," said Gnage.
The recommendation will be forwarded to the state Council for Community and Technical College Education for review.
The board Wednesday approved a resolution to begin negotiations to purchase a property at 713 Market St. The building is next to the university's downtown building, comprised of 705,707,709 and 711 Market St., which is undergoing renovations and will become the home of the college's new culinary arts program.
Joe Campbell, president of the WVU-P Board of Governors, said the building was appraised in October.
"We would negotiate within the appraisal value," said Campbell, but added he would not release the appraised value of the building. "I think we have a great opportunity here."
The board did not comment on specific development plans for the property.
Adam Krason, a representative from ZMM in Parkersburg, presented the proposed floor plan and Phase One construction estimates for WVU-P's Market Street property, acquired in 2008. Current renovations include the facade, demolition, roof, windows, elevator and electric. As asbestos removal was recently completed, Krason said.
Total cost estimates for phase one construction is $2.7 million, with the bulk of the cost going toward 707 Market St., which will hold a large teaching kitchen.
In other business, Gnage presented the board with an update on a legislative audit, which found the college in violation of state rules governing food service contracts. The audit report made a few recommendations to the college, including to avoid accepting donations from vendors with whom it has a regular business relationship.
Gnage said the college followed up with the state audit committee, and as far as the audit report goes, the matter is settled. No further steps have been taken by the audit committee.
"This is the first ever formal audit the college has been engaged in," said Gnage. "Before this, the college was part of West Virginia University. This is the first time we were really out on our own."
Gnage said the college has taken steps to ensure compliance with regulations and will have all contracts reviewed by the attorney general.