MORGANTOWN – The West Virginia University Board of Governors Friday approved budget assumptions for the fiscal year beginning July 1, based on a 5.7 percent increase in tuition and fees and an incoming full-time freshman class of 4,900.

MORGANTOWN – The West Virginia University Board of Governors Friday approved budget assumptions for the fiscal year beginning July 1, based on a 5.7 percent increase in tuition and fees and an incoming full-time freshman class of 4,900.
The parameters reflect a $30.5 million increase in expenses due in part to compensation adjustments which are only partially covered by an increase in state appropriations; technology upgrades; increases in costs of supplies and services including utilities; and increases in graduate stipends to maintain research efforts. Reductions in expenses in other areas of the University also are anticipated to support these initiatives and cost increases.
In addition, the board approved the selection of Sodexo to assume operation of the University’s dining services and authorized the administration to work out final details on the contract, which is expected to take effect in the coming weeks.
“Tuition increases and expense reductions are always difficult decisions,” vice president for finance Paula Congelio said.
“However, we must continue to work towards improving the quality of the student experience while decreasing costs. To not do so could have detrimental effects on our academic programming, as well as the initiatives that prepare our students to be well-rounded graduates.”
Congelio indicated that if the university did not continue to invest in its students and the institution’s mission, the university could see a decline in the quality of academic offerings, fewer undergraduate research opportunities, reduced course sections causing students to delay graduation, and student success initiatives (like Project 168 and Adventure WV) and other high-level student services and programming could be affected.
On the main campus in Morgantown, per semester tuition and fees will increase:
    •    $240 for resident undergraduates.
    •    $672 for non-resident undergraduates.
    •    $270 for resident graduate students.
    •    $693 for non-resident graduate students.
The increase will bring undergraduate university tuition and fees at the Morgantown campus to $4,428 per semester for resident students and $12,480 per semester for non-residents. (Individual tuition will vary depending on course of study.
Residence hall rooms will increase between $106 and $137 per semester depending on location and room choice. Apartment rental will mostly be unchanged, with some increases in specific accommodations.
The WVU Institute of Technology in Beckley and Potomac State College of WVU in Keyser will also see an approximate 5.7 percent increase in tuition and fees for resident and non-resident students per semester at the following rates:
    •    Potomac State (associates/residents) – $120 increase per semester
    •    Potomac State (associates/non-residents) – $312 increase per semester
    •    WVU Tech residents – $202 increase per semester
    •    WVU Tech non-residents – $502 increase per semester
The meal plan at Potomac State will increase by 5.3 percent, or $115 per semester. At WVU Tech, the meal plan will increase by 2 percent, or $43 per semester.
Residence hall rates at Potomac State (double occupancy) will increase by $59, or 3 percent, and remain at current rates at WVU Tech.
The full schedule will be available on the WVU Tuition website.
Congelio noted that the university will be looking at “innovative solutions to prioritize affordability, cost predictability and cost savings for students and their families.
“Throughout this year, we have heard from our student body leadership about concerns relating to tuition increases,” she said. “We have consistently heard about the need to consider tuition levels by cohort and whether it would be advisable to look at things such as predictable tuition or focusing additional scholarships for upperclassmen. 
“We are committed to a comprehensive look at these issues with our Board, including continued work on developing ideas to save students money on the cost of textbooks and related areas.”
Dining services vendor
Under the Sodexo proposal, current employees will retain their jobs, whether with Sodexo or the university. (Those with three or more years of service will have the option to remain university employees, while others will have the option to move to Sodexo.) There will also be opportunities for advancement.
In addition, the same level of hours for student workers will be maintained, and additional financial benefits will be available.
The approval of Sodexo as the vendor to operate the University’s dining services comes after a year-and-a-half-long bid process and permits administrators to negotiate a final contract.
In recommending approval, the board was told that the Sodexo proposal has the potential to transform “the food services experience and to improve the dining operations net margin from break even to steadily growing over the years (meaning that the University will receive revenues that can be reinvested into student-focused initiatives).”
Renovations to certain university food service facilities are expected to begin this summer, beginning in the Mountainlair, where some new options will appear along with current favorites.
In other business, the board approved a new Global Mountaineers Certificate Program and a new major in interactive design for media.
The next meeting is set for June 22 in Morgantown.