WLU on a path of growth

On Monday, a major new academic building, the Campbell Hall of Health Sciences, was dedicated at West Liberty University. Campus improvements are common, of course, at most institutions of higher learning. They occur regularly at WLU, though not at the scale of the new $23 million structure

WLU officials, now celebrating the fifth anniversary of the institution’s transition from college to university, have made many program improvements during the past several years. Of course, that, too, occurs at many other institutions of higher learning.

It needs to be noted that WLU has gained national attention for its athletic programs during the past several years. Again, that happens at many colleges and universities.

But what also happens at most institutions of higher learning are regular increases in cost that are putting college degrees out of reach of some people. The expense of obtaining a bachelor’s degree at many colleges and universities exceeds what it cost some students’ parents to buy houses.

Four years at WLU, including tuition and fees, room and board, costs about $60,000. Some programs may cost a few thousand dollars more.

That is something about which WLU officials – and, it should be noted, those at several other West Virginia state colleges and universities – have every right to brag.

Again, costs have been held down at WLU during a period of impressive improvements in both facilities and programs. And did we mention cost containment has occurred at a time of declining support from the state budget?

Of course, all involved at WLU?deserve to be commended for remembering students come first. But pointing that out is not our primary purpose in outlining recent history at the local state university.

It is, instead, to note that WLU and several other state institutions of higher education that share the same policy seem to have become exceptions rather than the rule.

In the long run, colleges and universities operating by that philosophy will grow and prosper – while their competitors wonder why students are no longer knocking on their doors.