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President Gordon Gee hinted at more cuts for West Virginia University in his State of the University Address Monday.
Gee opened his remarks by acknowledging the impacts of the Academic Transformation process that has cut dozens of programs and close to 150 faculty positions.
He highlighted several of the university’s successes, including a national astronomy award and increased freshman retention rates before returning to the issue of the university’s budget deficit.
WVU is facing a $45 million budget shortfall, and Gee said the 2024 budget was designed to to reduce expenses by around $21 million.
“The academic program review process, we are estimating the university will yield around $17.3 million in savings by fiscal year 27 after phased retirements and teach-out plans run the record,” he said. “However, the majority of savings will be realized in fiscal year 25.”
Reviews of WVU’s Beckley and Keyser campuses, as well as WVU Extension, are slated for January 2024.
Gee said the cuts are setting the university on a course to become the modern land-grant university of the future by focusing on “four priorities within the pillars of education, health, prosperity and purpose.”
“We will serve as the great connector — building partnerships that drive industry, education and public sector growth,” Gee said. “And we will create the great public square our society so desperately needs, providing a safe and nurturing place for civil discourse and debate for all ideas.”
Gee also highlighted an effort to expand access to the university by increasing the number of students who graduate with zero debt. He said about 45 percent of May 2023 graduates earning bachelor’s degrees completed their education with zero debt.