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Campus Conversation Follow-up Budget FAQs


1. What is the current budget deficit WVU is facing?

The University is facing an approximate $35 million budget deficit for Fiscal Year 2024 (Fiscal Year 2024 begins on July 1, 2023 and ends on June 30, 2024). We are actively working to address our current budget challenges. However, if additional mitigation efforts are not put in place, our modeling has shown that we potentially could reach a deficit in the range of $75 million by 2029.

2. Are tuition increases expected to make up for revenue loss?

While no tuition increases have been approved by our Board of Governors, WVU is projecting a potential 3% increase as part of our FY2024 budget year. For purposes of our modeling only, we have assumed a tuition increase year over year of 3.5% from 2025 to 2028. However, our path to success will not be through aggressive tuition increases. Instead, we must change the dynamic in our market share while ensuring we are differentiating our University from our peers by always telling WVU’s story and value proposition.

3. Are faculty and staff going to be involved in helping the University come up with ideas for addressing our budgetary challenges?

Yes. We all are in this situation together, and we will continue to engage our campus community as we navigate these challenges. We already have received several great ideas from groups such as WVU Staff Council, all of which we are considering.

Data ultimately will drive our decision-making. We will continue to share the latest information, and we will engage different groups across WVU as appropriate.

4. Will the implementations of the WVU Modernization Program and redesigned budget model be paused?

No. We do not plan to pause the WVU Modernization Program or further delay the implementation of the redesigned budget model.

Regarding the Modernization Program, it is imperative that we remain future-focused and continue to invest in programs and initiatives that will be differentiators for the University, enhance the student experience and help us to work smarter. However, to spread our expenses out over time, we may choose to lengthen the implementation timeline.

Our previous budget model was largely incremental. The new model is based on performance, and it will be instrumental in guiding us when looking at FY2024.

FY2024 will be a parallel year, so we can see how the University performs in the new budget model. This approach will provide time to work with leaders to better understand the new model and ensure we are properly resourced in the right areas. WVU then will transition fully to the new budget model in FY2025.

5. Is the University planning to outsource certain services?

While we always must look for opportunities to operate our University as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible, there currently are no plans to transition any aspect of our operations to a third-party provider.

6. Is the University looking at certain “green” initiatives to reduce utility costs?

Yes. In the coming weeks, WVU will roll out an Indoor Space Temperature Policy for University-owned or operated facilities. The policy will provide formalized specifications for interior space temperatures in all facilities where the temperature can reasonably be controlled.

To reduce utility costs, WVU also plans to update hours of operation beginning this summer for many academic buildings on campus.


7. Is the University expecting to cut certain academic programs?

As part of our ongoing Academic Transformation efforts, the Office of the Provost is working closely with our Enrollment Management team to identify academic programs that are attractive to students, unique to our University and closely tied to career outcomes. In partnership with a consultant, the University will evaluate all programs and gather data on program performance and marketability. The University will use the data to drive decisions on program investment and reduction.

8. What does “student first” mean for WVU’s R1 status?

We care deeply about our research mission and our R1 status. WVU researchers are dedicated to working on real-world problems that improve the lives of West Virginians and others across the globe. As a research university, we engage in research for the development of our students. Undergraduate research opportunities are a differentiator for us among many peer institutions, and we will continue to invest in the development of STEM talent.

9. What can staff do to help retention?

Every person at the University should always be working to re-recruit our students by being engaged, friendly and helpful. The best way to help with retention is to go out of your way to help students when they are struggling and in need of extra support; lend a hand and guide them as best you can to the support services that they need.

10. Has there been any research into two- and three-year-degrees, as well as trade training at WVU as the interest in them across the country grow?

Potomac State College, a part of the University System, does offer these types of programs.

11. How will you balance increasing enrollment with decreasing faculty? Will faculty workloads be affected?

Overall enrollment has declined over the last 10 years by about 5,000 students yet our personnel has not reduced to correspond with that loss in enrollment. Through the next phase of academic transformation, we will look at a variety of opportunities within areas such as academic programming, program enrollment, cost of delivery, and academic structures to help provide opportunities for future efficiencies. The reality is that the University must adapt to an overall smaller enrollment for the University to remain financially sustainable.

12. What will be the process for determining academic program reductions?

We will use data to drive our decision making. We will share that data and engage our faculty as much as we can given the urgency to move forward. We will provide updates as they are available.


13. What is the ideal size of the institution based on enrollment trends?

The University has the current infrastructure and capacity to easily have total enrollment of at least 30,000 students and a first-time freshman class in Morgantown of 5,200. Data on high school graduates in our region, in addition to retention data, changes on a yearly basis, so the ideal size of enrollment will ebb and flow. By 2028, the system headcount based on the “stress test” conducted by the Finance team was 22,012 across the system. However, the expectation is that number would be higher provided WVU continues to perform similarly to the last few years in terms of market share in our region and out-of-state recruitment markets.

14. To what degree is a declining enrollment a national trend -or- is this more specific to us?

Colleges and universities around the country are actively preparing for the “demographic cliff” in coming years, in which fewer high school students will graduate due to the smaller number of births in the 2000s. What is unique to West Virginia is the decline in high school students choosing to go to college, which has dropped more than 11% since 2017-18 according to the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission. As the state flagship, land-grant institution, WVU feels the effects, but so do all of our colleges and universities in the Mountain State.

15. With enrollment predictions on the decline from our historically primary markets, what commitment will be made to expand the market and grow the enrollment?

Our Enrollment Management experts - centrally and throughout our colleges/schools - have been working toward expanding our market share for years. Through their work, we have raised the level of awareness of WVU outside of West Virginia. As President Gee noted in his March 27 State of the University, the University is now firmly in a competitive recruitment set with other large, public institutions like the University of Alabama, the University of Tennessee, and others. WVU will continue to commit resources and time to increasing market share in our regional recruitment areas.

16. What can university board directors and individual college supporters do to support our future enrollment?

Each of us at the University is a “recruiter,” and we should be sharing the education opportunities that are available with potential students and student influencers. If you are looking to develop a specific recruitment initiative within your department, office, team, etc., please reach out to the University Relations Enrollment Management team to strategically coordinate that effort. Our best effort to recruit more students will be strategic, cross-collaborative and built within the framework of other centralized recruitment efforts. Specific efforts, including college/school-specific communications or handwritten notes from faculty and staff, help show that while WVU is a large institution, it can also feel small and tight-knit (which is commonly considered to be one of the University’s best attributes).

17. Why are we focused on “market share” rather than working to improve high school graduation rates and college readiness?

Increasing market share includes both concepts references and are not mutually exclusive. The University, along with partners like HEPC within the state, are always looking to improve the college-going rate within West Virginia. While these efforts continue, it’s important that we also look to other areas of our region, in which WVU can be a realistic option for potential students. If you have interest in helping the University to improve college-going rates through outreach activities, please contact us at

18. Have we looked at ways to grow online enrollment as a way to potentially offset operational expenses?

The University will look to grow enrollment in a variety of areas, from online to transfer to international to resident and non-resident students. As the University continues to drive increases in market share, it will consider the best audiences to prioritize.


19. Is the University considering the effect of certain recently passed state legislation, such as "campus carry," and how it may affect students from choosing to come to WVU?

Absolutely. We are keenly aware of the University and state perception, and how the two are commonly connected. As we continue to engage with prospective students and their families, we are honest about data and information about our campus and our state to allow them to make a choice that’s best for them. We also share that WVU is an accepting, inclusive and relatively safe campus. We know that some prospective students and their families are less likely to choose WVU based on legislative decisions made. However, some have told us that campus carry has made them more comfortable choosing WVU.

20. If gaining market share is one of the best ways to get more students at WVU, what strategic initiatives are occurring to obtain additional market share?

The University has identified Pennsylvania as a key market to future growth in enrollment. In addition, the University plans to continue to saturate the states where most of our students come from outside of West Virginia (Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia). Enrollment Management has been partnering with EAB to boost prospective student inquiries, as well, in these markets and with other audiences. The University also plans to increase transfer enrollment and look into areas of growth internationally.

21. How does the University plan to manage the perception that WVU is shrinking while also trying to recruit more students? How will our messaging evolve and adapt to differentiate WVU in the large pool of colleges and universities competing for the same students?

WVU is one of the most powerful university brands in our region thanks to the “Flying WV” logo and our notable reputation for academics and athletics. The University feels strongly that it can continue to out-perform in market share through strategic efforts, cross-collaboration and partnerships with campus departments/units. We will also utilize President Gee’s First Principles of 1) Student-first, 2) Land-grant, and 3) Differentiation to assure our position and increase perception in the marketplace.

22. Are we going to ramp up recruiting of out-of-state students?

The University has historically recruited significantly outside of West Virginia, and we will continue to do so. Most recently, our incoming recruitment classes have included more students from outside of West Virginia.


23. What additional measures can staff take to support student retention?

As faculty and staff, we all should be looking to re-recruit our students and re-assure them that this was the right decision.


24. What are the current cash reserves not including any Foundation funds?

As of June 30, 2022, our cash reserves were $222.7 million, including invested reserves. These reserves equate to approximately 72 days of cash on hand. Given financial circumstances, we anticipate our cash reserves will decline and we will have approximately 65-66 days of cash on hand as of June 30, 2023. Many of our peers that are similar in size and scope to the University maintain cash reserves of 80 to 90 days of cash on hand. We do not have the ability to draw on our reserves to run deficits at the University.

25. What are some immediate actions WVU is taking to address our budgetary challenges?

The University is considering many options. In the near term, we are continuing several expense reduction measures, such as reviewing new position hires and limiting employee travel. We also are transitioning from desk phones to softphones (software-based phones) in many areas and streamlining printer management across the institution.

Further, based on recent feedback from faculty and staff, WVU is planning to roll out a new voluntary Work Time Reduction program. Through the program, faculty and staff will have the option to express interest in either reducing their work hours or effort or reducing their appointment length. Faculty and staff should stay tuned for more information on the program.

We also are asking colleges, departments and units to take creative approaches to identify areas where expense reductions can occur. There is no simple solution or clear trajectory to follow, but we ask everyone to do their part and will continue to communicate any decisions transparently.

26. How will units determine how to make budgetary cuts?

We will begin to provide leaders with updated budget allocations for their colleges, divisions or units soon. Leaders will have a limited time to review the numbers for their areas and think through the steps they need to take to achieve their margin targets for FY2024.

If there is a proposed personnel reduction within a college, division or unit, there will be a formal process to follow as we move closer to the July 1 deadline. However, because they are most familiar with the areas they oversee, we are relying on our leaders to prioritize their needs as they relate to our intuition’s broader goals.

27. Has the University received financial assistance from the State?

The State’s funding formula model is based on the University’s level of enrollment. However, the West Virginia Legislature has shown a willingness to invest in projects and support for higher education. The State has already set aside $280 million in one-time monies for all higher education institutions and deferred maintenance for facilities.


28. Is WVU anticipating mandatory faculty and staff layoffs and/or furloughs?

The University is working through many aspects of our budget modeling and projections. But the reality is that we likely will be a much smaller organization in the years ahead to align with our student enrollment. Our faculty and staff are very important to us and truly make us who we are as an institution. However, our current budgetary situation may result in some difficult decisions in the months ahead.

If any temporary or long-term reductions to our workforce become necessary, we are committed to being transparent throughout the process and treating our faculty and staff in accordance with our shared values and with the respect they deserve.

29. Can employees volunteer to reduce their work hours?

Based on recent feedback from faculty and staff, WVU is planning to roll out a new voluntary Work-Time Reduction program, which will provide faculty and staff the option to express interest in either reducing their work hours or effort or reducing their appointment length. Faculty and staff should stay tuned for updates on the program.

In addition, WVU is encouraging employees to let us know if they are interested in retiring by contacting WVU Shared Services at 304-293-6006 or

30. Does a 'reduction in expenditures' mean no pay raises for current employees?

No. We are hopeful and planning for pay raises on a routine basis; however, compensation programs may not come every year. We currently are modeling our options and are committed to paying our faculty and staff at market levels as our budget allows.

31. What is the current status of the hiring freeze and is it expected to continue?

We are in a hiring freeze, with limited exceptions for critical areas of the University. The hiring freeze is expected to continue into Fiscal Year 2024.

32. With the significant increases to PEIA insurance premiums for all employees, is there anything planned to help cushion the impact of these changes?

The PEIA Finance Board has determined that employee premiums will increase approximately 25%, with variations between plans. The employer share for WVU is also expected to increased by approximately 23%, depending on the plan.

We are expecting to receive additional information from PEIA to understand the specific impact to WVU as an employer and how the changes will impact our faculty and staff. Our goal is to provide as much support as we can to help offset PEIA increases, but it likely will be a balancing act given our current budget situation.

33. Will the University be offering early retirement or early separation incentives?

No. WVU does not plan to offer any early retirement or early separation incentives. However, to assist with our planning efforts, we strongly encourage employees to let us know their retirement plans in advance by contacting WVU Shared Services at 304-293-6006 or