CHARLESTON, W. Va. — State Higher Education Chancellor Dr. Sarah Armstrong Tucker catches her breath after a busy legislative session that included handling the Higher Education Funding Formula Bill through the Senate and the State House of Delegates.
HB 4008 earned final passage on Saturday, the last day of the 60-day session.
Tucker said she was grateful to lawmakers for agreeing with colleges and universities across the state that it was time for a more tangible way to fund higher education.
Tucker said the work done in the months leading up to the session was key to getting the bill passed. She had 19 campus presidents on board.
“That’s absolutely the main reason he was adopted,” Tucker told MetroNews on Wednesday. “We had to build trust between higher education institutions with our office and we were trying to make sure everyone knew that they were trying to do their best for higher education and its students and we were able to do that. .”
The funding formula bill has received positive feedback from lawmakers along the way.
The House initially passed its version of the bill on February 16. It was approved unanimously.
Delegate Paul Espinosa, R-Jefferson, said when he first came to the legislature in 2013 that he quickly noticed there was no way to fund colleges and universities in the state.
“I wondered why some institutions were funded differently than others. After repeated questioning, I came to the conclusion that there really was no rational, fair, and transparent basis for how our higher education institutions were funded,” Espinosa said.
Delegate Larry Rowe, D-Kanawha, praised the work of HEPC and the 19 campus presidents who agreed on a funding formula.
“It’s not a punitive system, but it’s a system that encourages each of the schools to push hard for their students to complete their academic program,” Rowe said.
College and university presidents have already agreed on metrics that will be in the formula, including student progression in credit hours, graduation, and graduate school income, Tucker repeated. Wednesday.
“There are many different metrics institutions can get credit for along the way,” Tucker said.
The initial bill introduced included a significant change. If the bill is signed into law by the governor, four-year schools can create new priority four-year college programs in the funding formula model without approval from the Higher Education Policy Commission of the State. State. These programs can only be conducted on the school’s main campus, according to the bill.
Once the bill becomes law, higher education officials will draft emergency rules that will be approved in the coming months. Schools will then use the funding formula for the fiscal year 2023 budget process that begins next fall. Tucker said the permanent rules would then be submitted to the legislature during next year’s regular session.
Tucker said there would be no surprises in the rules.
“The rules will formalize the canvas. We have already agreed in all institutions on how the formula will work, what it will look like. Now we just have to put that on paper in the rulemaking process,” Tucker said.
Governor Jim Justice has several days to consider bills passed on the last day of the session.
Tucker thanks lawmakers for their support.
“I’m grateful to the legislature for recognizing how hard we’ve worked,” Tucker said.