Acts, 2008 Reg. Sess., Ch. 72.
Acts, 2008 Reg. Sess., Ch. 72.
(b) When selecting peers, the commission shall abide by the following conditions:
(1) The peer institutions shall be selected from among institutions throughout the United States and not solely from the states that are members of the southern regional education board.
(2) The peer institutions for community and technical colleges shall be selected in collaboration with the council.
(3) The peer institutions, as selected by the commission, shall be used as benchmarks for comparison purposes only and are not intended to reflect funding goals for West Virginia institutions of higher education. Such a use is inappropriate since institutions selected as peers for a state institution may be located in an area of high per capita income or have their funding subject to other factors that make its use unrealistic for setting funding goals in West Virginia. The peer institutions shall be used for comparison in the following areas:
(A) To determine adjustments to base operating budgets as described in section five of this article;
(B) To determine comparable levels of tuition;
(C) To determine comparable faculty and staff teaching requirements and other workloads; and
(D) For such other purposes as the law may require or the commission may find useful or necessary.
(4) The commission shall contract with a national, independent education consulting firm to assist in the unbiased selection of peer institutions for each West Virginia institution.
(5) The commission shall select peer institutions for each institution through an open, deliberative, objective process and in consultation with the institutional boards of governors or boards of advisors, as appropriate, intended to achieve broad understanding of the basis for this selection in the higher education community and the Legislature.
(6) Final peer selection is subject to the approval of the legislative oversight commission on education accountability.
(7) In selecting peer institutions, the commission shall use criteria such as, but not limited to:
(A) Institutional mission;
(B) Institutional size related to full-time equivalent students;
(C) The proportions of full-time and part-time students;
(D) The level of academic programs, including, but not limited to, number of degrees granted at the associate, baccalaureate, masters, doctoral and first-professional level;
(E) The characteristics of academic programs such as health sciences, professional, technical or liberal arts and sciences; and
(F) The level of research funding from federal competitive funding sources.
(8) Subject to the approval of the legislative oversight commission on education accountability, the commission shall review and make necessary adjustments to peer institutions at least every six years or as necessary based on changes in institutional missions as approved in institutional compacts or in changes at peer institutions. The commission shall review and make adjustments to peer institutions for community and technical colleges in collaboration with the council.
(9) Nothing herein prevents the commission from using the same peers or peer groups for more than one institution of higher education.
(b) It is, therefore, the desire of the Legislature to increase funding annually for higher education at a rate not less than the annual percentage increase in the overall general revenue budget.
(c) If the commission or council, or both, determines that appropriations are insufficient to fund the requirements of the institutional compacts under its jurisdiction, the commission or council first shall consider extending the length of the compacts or otherwise modifying the compacts to allow the institutions to achieve the benchmarks in the compacts. If modifications to the institutional compacts are not sufficient to allow the institutions to meet their benchmarks, the commission or council, or both, shall recommend to the Legislature methods of making the higher education system more efficient. The methods may include, but are not limited to, the following:
(1) Administrative efficiencies;
(2) Consolidation of services;
(3) Elimination of programs;
(4) Consolidating institutions; and
(5) Closing institutions.
(b) Legislative funding priorities. --
(1) The Legislature recognizes the current funding model has not moved all state institutions equitably towards comparable peer funding levels. The model has left West Virginia institutions at a competitive disadvantage to their national peers.
(2) The Legislature acknowledges that the resource allocation model used to comply with enrolled committee substitute for Senate bill no. 547, passed during the legislative session of one thousand nine hundred ninety-five, alleviated some of the disparity that exists among state institutions' operating budgets, but left significant differences between the institutions and their national peers.
(3) The Legislature recognizes that a system of independently accredited community and technical colleges is essential to the economic vitality of the state.
(4) The Legislature places great importance on achieving the priority goals outlined in the public policy agenda and believes the state institutions of higher education should play a vital role in facilitating the attainment of these goals.
(5) The Legislature also believes it is imperative that the state make progress on narrowing the peer inequity while balancing the need for sustaining the quality of our institutions.
(6) It is the charge of the commission and council to allocate all funds appropriated in excess of the fiscal year two thousand one general revenue appropriations in alignment with the legislative funding priorities listed below. The commission and council shall consider the priorities and assign a percentage of the total appropriation of new funds to each priority.
(A) Peer equity. -- Funds appropriated for this purpose increase the level of the institutional operating budget for state institutions of higher education comparable to their peer institutions. The allocation shall provide, subject to the availability of funds and legislative appropriations, for a systematic adjustment of the institutional operating budgets to move all institutions' funding in the direction of levels comparable with their peers. Institutional allocations shall be calculated as follows:
(i) A calculation shall be made of the deficiency in per student funding of each institution in comparison with the mean per student funding of the peer institutions as defined by the commission pursuant to section three of this article;
(ii) For all institutions that are deficient in comparison with peer institutions, the amounts of the deficiencies shall be totaled;
(iii) A ratio of the amount of the deficiency for an institution divided by the total amounts of deficiency for all West Virginia institutions shall be established for each institution; and
(iv) The allocation to each institution shall be calculated by multiplying the ratio by the total amount of money in the account;
(B) Independently accredited community and technical colleges development. -- Funds appropriated for this purpose will ensure a smooth transition, where required, from "component" community and technical colleges to independently accredited community and technical colleges as defined in section two, article one of this chapter. Appropriations for this purpose are to be allocated only to those institutions having approved compacts with the council that expressly include the transition of their component community colleges to independently accredited status and have demonstrated measurable progress towards this goal. By the first day of July, two thousand five, or when all required community and technical colleges are independently accredited, whichever first occurs, funds for this purpose shall be allocated to the incentives for institutional contributions to state priorities;
(C) Research challenge. -- Funds appropriated for this purpose shall assist public colleges and universities in West Virginia to compete on a national and international basis by providing incentives to increase their capacity to compete successfully for research funding. The Legislature intends for institutions to collaborate in the development and execution of research projects to the extent practicable and to target research to the needs of the state as established in the public policy agenda and linked to the future competitiveness of this state.
(i) The commission shall develop criteria for awarding grants to institutions under this account, which may include, but are not limited to, the following:
(I) Grants to be used to match externally funded, peer-reviewed research;
(II) Grants to be used to match funds for strategic institutional investments in faculty and other resources to increase research capacity;
(III) Grants to support funding for new research centers and projects that will foster economic development and workforce investment within the state. These grants shall be limited to five years and each research center or project funded shall receive a decreasing award each year and shall be required to be supported solely by external funding within five years;
(ii) The commission may establish an advisory council consisting of nationally prominent researchers and scientists, including representatives from outside the state, to assist in developing the criteria for awarding grants under this account.
(iii) For the purposes of making the distributions from this account, the commission shall establish the definition for research, research funds and any other terms as may be necessary to implement this subdivision; and
(D) Incentives for institutional contributions to state priorities. -- Funds appropriated for this purpose provide incentives to institutions which demonstrate success toward advancing the goals of the public policy agenda as set forth in section one-a, article one of this chapter and to provide incentives for mission enhancement as set forth in section two of this article.
(E) Sustained quality support. -- The commission and council shall provide additional operating funds to institutions under their respective jurisdictions with approved compacts. The commission and council shall allocate these funds on an equal percentage basis to all institutions. The commission or council may delay distribution of these funds to any institution which does not demonstrate measurable progress towards the goals provided in its compact with the commission or council.
(c) Allocations to institutional operating budgets. -- For the purposes of this subsection, the commission and council each shall establish by rule pursuant to subsection (f), section two of this article the method for measuring the progress of each institution towards meeting the benchmarks of its institutional compact.
(d) Allocation of appropriations to the institutions. -- Appropriations in this section shall be allocated to the state institutions of higher education in the following manner:
(1) Each fiscal year appropriations from the funds shall be allocated only to institutions which have:
(A) Approved compacts, pursuant to section two of this article; and
(B) Achieved their annual benchmarks for accomplishing the goals of their compacts, as approved by the commission or council.
(2) If an institution has not achieved all of its annual benchmarks, the commission or council may distribute a portion of the funds to the institution based on its progress as the commission or council determines appropriate. The commission and council each shall establish by rule, pursuant to subsection (f), section two of this article, the method for measuring the progress of each institution toward meeting the benchmarks of its institutional compact.
(e) Nothing in this section limits the appropriation or collection of fees necessary to effectuate the operation and purpose of the commission or council.
(b) Findings. -- The Legislature makes the following findings:
(1) Since West Virginia ranks below its competitor states in graduate degree production, particularly in the areas that are important to the state's competitive position in the new economy of the twenty-first century, there is a considerable need for greater access to graduate education, especially at the master's degree level;
(2) There is a significant disparity in access to part-time graduate degree programs among the different regions of the state and part-time graduate enrollments are heavily concentrated in the counties immediately surrounding Marshall University and West Virginia University;
(3) There is a particular need for increased access to graduate programs linked directly to the revitalization of the regional economies of the state; and
(4) There is a particular need for improved quality and accessibility of preservice and in-service programs for teachers in subject matter fields.
(c) In order to meet the need for graduate education, the Commission is responsible for accomplishing the following:
(1) Ensuring that West Virginia University and Marshall University assist in the expansion of access to master's degree programs throughout West Virginia. These institutions shall place a strong emphasis on collaboration with the baccalaureate colleges and community and technical colleges in each region when funds are available;
(2) Ensuring that any institution providing a master's degree program under the provisions of this section provides a meaningful, coherent program by offering courses in such a way that students, including place-bound adults, have ample opportunity to complete a degree in a reasonable period of time;
(3) Focusing on providing courses that enhance the professional skills of teachers in their subject areas;
(4) Ensuring that programs are offered in the most cost-effective manner to expand access throughout the region and the state; and
(5) Determining the graduate program needs of each region.
(d) Bluefield State College, Concord University, Fairmont State University, Glenville State College, Shepherd University, West Liberty State College and West Virginia State University shall meet the need for graduate education in their regions pursuant to this subsection and subsection (c) of this section.
(1) If an institution's proposal to offer a Master's degree receives the approval of the Commission, that Master's degree may be offered solely by the institution.
(2) If an institution does not receive the approval of the Commission for a proposal to offer a Master's degree, that institution may broker or collaborate with another higher education institution to develop a revised proposal for offering that brokered or collaborative Master's degree.
(e) There is an urgent need for master's degree programs for teachers in disciplines or subject areas, such as mathematics, science, history, literature, foreign languages and the arts. Currently, master's-level courses in education that are offered in the regions served by the state universities are primarily in areas such as guidance and counseling, administration, special education and other disciplines unrelated to teaching in subject areas. If this need is not being met in a region through the procedure established in subsection (d) of this section, then the graduate center in that region may plan a master's degree program in education focused on teaching in subject area fields in which the demand is not being met. No institution may begin a graduate program under the provisions of this section until the program has been reviewed and approved by the Commission. The Commission shall approve only those programs, as authorized by this subsection, that emphasize serving the needs of teachers and schools in the colleges' immediate regions. In determining whether a program should be approved, the Commission also shall rely upon the recommendations of the statewide task force on teacher quality provided in section eight, article fourteen of this chapter.
(f) The Commission shall review all graduate programs being offered under the provisions of this section and, using the criteria established for program startup in subsection (d) of this section, determine which programs should be discontinued.
(g) At least annually, the governing boards shall evaluate graduate programs developed pursuant to the provisions of this section and report to the Commission on the following:
(1) The number of programs being offered and the courses offered within each program;
(2) The disciplines in which programs are being offered;
(3) The locations and times at which courses are offered;
(4) The number of students enrolled in the program; and
(5) The number of students who have obtained master's degrees through each program.
The governing boards shall provide the Commission with any additional information the Commission requests in order to make a determination on the viability of a program.
(h) In developing any graduate program under the provisions of this section, institutions shall consider delivering courses at times and places convenient to adult students who are employed full time. Institutions shall place an emphasis on extended degree programs, distance learning and off-campus centers which utilize the cost-effective nature of extending existing university capacity to serve the state rather than duplicating the core university capacity and incurring the increased cost of developing master's degree programs at other institutions throughout the state.
(i) Brokering institutions shall invite proposals from other public institutions of higher education for service provision prior to contracting with other institutions: Provided, That if institutions propose providing graduate programs in service areas other than in their responsibility district, the institution seeking to establish a program shall work through the district's lead institution in providing those services.
(j) In addition to the approval required by the Commission, authorization for any institution to offer a master's degree program under the provisions of this section is subject to the formal approval processes established by the governing boards.
Acts, 2008 Reg. Sess., Ch. 87.
Acts, 2004 Reg. Sess., Ch. 92.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2015 Regular Session
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