Governor joins WVU and Marshall in calling on the Legislature to protect higher education funding
CHARLESTON,WV— Yesterday, Governor Jim Justice alerted West Virginians to the public health care emergency that would be created if the Republicans implemented their budget cuts to Medicaid. Today, the Governor is shining a spotlight on how the Republican budget cuts are putting the state’s colleges and universities on the chopping block.
The GOP’s proposed framework means between $50 million and $75 million cut from the state’s institutions of higher education. Click here to see the complete list of schools exposed to their plan. CUTS PAGE - Sheet1 (1).pdf
Governor Justice echoed the calls of Marshall University President Jerome Gilbert and West Virginia University President Gordon Gee to the West Virginia Legislature not to make “devastating” budget cuts to higher education.
“The Republicans don’t want to let the people of West Virginia know just how destructive their cuts will be to higher education,” said Governor Jim Justice. “They need to own up to the fact that West Virginia’s schools can’t afford to take a hit like this and may result in several of them shutting their doors. If we strangle our schools into oblivion it will hurt our students and the future of our workforce. It’s not right and the public needs to be aware of it.”
President Gee and President Gilbert released a joint statement yesterday asking state legislators to take higher education cuts off the table in trying to balance the state budget, citing how the universities have already had to endure millions of cuts in previous years.
“President Gee and I are taking a stand together in support of preserving state funding for higher education as an investment in the future of our state and its people,” said Gilbert. “It doesn’t make sense to cut off one of the primary paths a state has to successful economic growth—and that’s an educated workforce. Higher education is absolutely vital to having the workforce companies want when they are looking to locate or expand facilities.”
Gee said, “I realize it may seem easier to cut our way to success. However, the worthier option is to invest in those things that will bring prosperity to our state. The best way to propel West Virginia into prosperity is to leverage its assets. West Virginia University, Marshall University and our sister institutions here in West Virginia are assets to this state. And we remain committed to helping our state’s leaders forge solutions that will drive real change.”
“Marshall alone has had $11.5 million in state cuts over the past several years. Another significant reduction in our state allocation will give us no choice but to effectively pass the cut directly on to our students in the form of a sizeable tuition increase,” said Gilbert. “That will be a real hardship for our students, three-fourths of whom are from West Virginia.”
Gee added, “We have always protected our academic mission and done our best to keep our tuition affordable and accessible. However, West Virginia University has taken nearly $30 million in state reductions over the past three years. Any additional significant reductions would jeopardize the quality and value of an education that a student at West Virginia University receives, as well as the programs and services we provide to the state.”
Yesterday, Justice discussed the health care emergency that would be created by the Republican cuts to Medicaid/DHHR. Learn more about that here.