CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Research analysts have concluded that the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission and the Council for Community and Technical College Education are overfunded because they function solely in advisory capacities and aren’t holding institutions accountable.

A recent report from Performance Evaluation and Research Division Analyst Christopher Carney said a January audit revealed the two panels should be restructured, the Register-Herald reported (http://bit.ly/2cAAxbp). The $3.5 million allotted to the two is “excessive” for agencies with only advisory functions, and some of that money should be reinvested in higher education institutions, Carney said.

The agencies are rubber-stamping requests, he also said, with the two having approved tuition increases greater than 5 percent between 2012 and 2015, regardless of what the institutions submitted.

HEPC Chancellor Dr. Paul Hill and CCTCE Chancellor Dr. Sarah Tucker said the report misunderstands of the agencies’ statutory authority, as the two panels do not approve operating budgets of individual institutions. The agencies also review programs at institutions, but they do not have the authority to discontinue them, Hill said.

“We can make recommendations to discontinue, but the board of governors at each institution makes that call,” he said.

If analysts had attended CCTCE meetings, Tucker said, they would have seen lively debates about tuition and fees.

Tucker said proof of the agencies’ importance can be seen through looking at graduation rates, which have risen for the past six years.


Information from: The Register-Herald, http://www.register-herald.com