Holding College Costs Down Vital

Members of West Virginia Northern Community College’s Board of Governors are searching for a new president for the institution. Near the top of their list of requirements should be someone tight-fisted with money.

WVNCC President Vicki L. Riley plans to retire from her post June 30. Brann Altmeyer, president of the board, credited her with strengthening the college’s financial position, among other things.

That often is not a popular philosophy in higher education. But more than ever before, holding costs down for students is vital.

WVNCC plans to increase tuition for the 2018-19 academic year, by $3 per credit hour for local residents. Those in the college’s metro-rate area, which extends into Ohio and Pennsylvania, will pay $6 more per credit hour. Other out-of-state students will pay $9 more.

Other Mountain State community colleges also are increasing tuition and fees by an average of about 2.6 percent, according to the Community and Technical College System. That puts WVNCC at about average.

It also places the local college and most others like it in West Virginia ahead of many other institutions, where double-digit increases are not uncommon.

Affordability is what appeals to many West Virginians about community colleges. In this day and age, when even a two-year college degree or certificate is out of reach of many people — unless they are willing to go deeply in debt — that is important. WVNCC’s Board of Governors should select a new president eager to keep holding costs down.