West Virginia colleges, universities see lowest tuition increases in nearly a decade

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SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WDTV) -- Public colleges and universities in West Virginia experienced their lowest tuition increase in nearly a decade, according to data examined by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission this week.

The cost of in-state tuition at West Virginia's four-year institutions next year costs an average of $7,690. It reflects a 2.4% increase over the last year, the slimmest price hike in nearly 10 years, commission officials said.

“We know the number one reason high school students don’t attend college is concern over the cost," said Dr. Sarah Armstrong Tucker, Interim Chancellor of the Commission. "The four-year public institutions have heard that concern and are trying to address it by keeping their tuition predictable and affordable,”

Bluefield State College will experience the largest price hike by percentage at 6.1%. Glenville State and West Virginia State won't increase tuition next year, the only public four-year schools in the state not to raise prices.

“Not only is this the right thing to do, but we feel that it is our duty to focus on college affordability," GSC Provost Dr. Victor Vega previously said when tuition was announced for the next academic year. "Over the past 10 years, average undergraduate tuition for in-state students in West Virginia has increased over 60%. Students and families are being priced out of higher education so we know, especially for our students at GSC, that the ongoing efforts to control tuition prices are having an impact."

West Virginia University students will only see a 1.4% increase next year, for $60 per semester on tuition. WVU officials previously said the last time the institution's increase was less than 2% was in the 2010-11 academic year.

“We are extremely sensitive to the increasing cost of higher education,” President Gordon Gee said when the tuition hike was announced. “While we are not able to hold tuition flat, our leaders did an outstanding job of coming in at a very small number to maintain the University’s position as one of the best values in the country.”

The average increase for all West Virginia four-year institutions, the commission said, was $177.