Last week, AlwaysFreeWV.org spotlighted the rising costs of tuition at the four year schools in the Mountain State. In the end, these tuition increases reflect the state's budget priorities and the state legislature's decisions on the value of higher education. Now, WVU is offering buyouts to forestall tuition increases, which could harm the quality of education the university offers.
Over the past decade our legislature has repeatedly decided to pass the costs of higher education onto students and families, or to force the schools to make difficult decisions on how to squeeze their budgets.
After years of cut or stagnant education funding, whatever legitimate redundancies existed in higher education budgets has been long gone. Now, WVU is considering actually paying employees to leave their jobs to avoid a future tuition increase. As this MetroNews story details:
WVU is looking to keep tuition increases at a minimum and to do so must cut $14.8 million out of next year’s budget in personnel and supplies, WVU Vice President for Strategic Initiatives Rob Alsop said on Monday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”
“We’ll be offering to certain employees, those with 20 years of experience or more, the opportunity, again this is voluntary, if they want to, to separate from the university. If they do that there would be a buyout that they would be entitled to,” Alsop said.
These costly severance packages would eliminate positions across the university, affecting the quality of education and services the school may be able to offer.
While we applaud WVU on trying to keep costs down, shame on our legislature for backing our state’s flagship institution into a corner where they must choose between their students or their staff’s financial well-being.