CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The cost of an education is about to go substantially higher at five West Virginia colleges.
The Higher Education Policy Commission approved proposed tuition increases at West Virginia University, West Virginia State University, Fairmont State University, Shepherd University and Bluefield State College at a special meeting Tuesday.
The commission must approve any increase greater than 5 percent for in-state students.
The average increase for the coming school year will be $380 for an in-state student. That takes the average tuition rate from $5,687 in 2012-13 to $6,067 in 2013-14.
Those increases range from 6 percent - or $366 a year - at WVU to 9 percent - or $490 a year - at West Virginia State.
A slew of other state schools also are raising tuition, but by less than 5 percent. They can do so without commission approval.
State colleges are facing a 9 percent cut in state funding for the next fiscal year - a fact that has left many institutions scrambling to re-evaluate finances.
Commissioners said they strive to resist tuition increases whenever possible. Chairman David Hendrickson said commissioners spent about 10 hours reviewing institutions' proposed budgets for the next fiscal year - a review thorough enough to prove to them that colleges were using the increases only after trimming expenses.