West Virginia State University underfunded for decades, U.S. government says

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — New efforts may be coming to help an underfunded West Virginia State University. It is also one of the nation’s historically black colleges and universities.

It is not known if this was done intentionally or was just an oversight, but it’s quite costly. West Virginia State University was recently notified by the federal government that it had been underfunded to the tune of $852 million over the course of thirty years.

Most states have only one land-grant university that gets special funding from the nation’s capital. But the Mountain State has two: West Virginia University and West Virginia State University. WVSU gets that designation as a historically Black college.

Federal land-grant colleges are supposed to receive state matching funds on a proportional basis. The U.S. Departments of Education and Agriculture, which manage land-grant schools, recently wrote to WV Governor Jim Justice about state’s underfunding.

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“Certainly it definitely concerns me, considering all of the things that could have been done with that money to support underrepresented communities in the state of West Virginia,” said State Delegate-Designee Hollis Lewis, (D) Kanawha & a WVSU Grad, who will be sworn into the House of Delegates soon.

“We want to continue to fund a great, great, great school. And we want to do it in a really prudent way. And so, we’ll continue to work and work with Dr. Cage, and work with West Virginia State,” said Gov. Jim Justice, (R) West Virginia.

WVSU President Dr. Ericke Cage issued a statement on the matter saying in part, “While our university has made tremendous strides with the funds we have received in serving the people of West Virginia, we could have done even more if we had been receiving our full land-grant match all along.”

President Cage went on to say he looks forward to working with the governor and legislature on fair, future funding.

The federal Departments of Education and Agriculture have offered to send teams to West Virginia to conduct a budget workshop for WVSU, and state leaders. So far those meetings have not been set.

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