The BridgeValley Community and Technical College Board of Governors voted Thursday to increase annual in-state student tuition there by $90 for next academic year, and President Eunice Bellinger said courses would stay online-only through the rest of this semester.
The board members didn’t vote on the online transition, but Bellinger asked whether they had any objections and they gave none. Other colleges across the state and nation have already made similar decisions to help stem the spread of the coronavirus.
She said graduation will be done virtually, and Charleston Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin will be the speaker for that event.
“Our student services folks are calling every single student to see how they’re doing, if they’re having any troubles, etc.,” Bellinger said.
She said the college is providing laptops to students who don’t have them, and providing computer thumb drives and written information to students with no internet connection.
Annual tuition and required fees at the college next academic year will now be $4,500 for those in-state students who don’t qualify for free tuition.
The 2019 law that created the program said the certificates and degrees that students can receive free tuition for will be limited to certificates and associate’s degrees that “satisfy a workforce need as determined by the [state] Department of Commerce.”
Click “Find a Program” at the top of wvinvests.org to see a list of the state’s public community colleges, and then click BridgeValley to see which programs there are eligible for free tuition.
The free tuition program, called West Virginia Invests, uses grants from the state to fill the gap between what existing federal and state grants and scholarships might provide to students and any tuition costs that remain after those grants and scholarships are factored in.
You can apply at any age, but there are numerous criteria you must meet for eligibility. Among them: you can’t already have a college degree and you must stay in West Virginia for at least two years after getting a certificate or degree (if you leave before then, you must repay part or all of the grant, unless exempted for something like military service or attending further higher education).
The increase next academic year for non-resident students, which the college has very few of, will be $210, bringing their annual tuition to $10,700.
Thursday’s meeting agenda projected the increases will raise an extra $107,900 next academic year. It said the revenue increase was needed for “program development and the need to increase fund balances for continued improvement of the Composite Financial Index.”
The CFI is a measure of financial health.
The board also approved a few changes Thursday to the fees charged to some students and not others. The $100 per course fee to withdraw from a course will be eliminated next academic year, while some fees, such as for medical assistant courses, will be increased by $86.