CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A bill to allow up to six state colleges to participate in a pilot project to charge students tuition by the credit hour (SB508) advanced from the Senate Education Committee Thursday.
The legislation would amount to tuition increases for full-time students, who pay the same per semester tuition regardless of whether they take 12, 15, or 18 credit hours or more that semester.
However, Doreen Larson, president of Pierpont Community and Technical College in Fairmont, told the committee, "I would object to the characterization it is a tuition increase. It is not. It is the termination of a discount."
Having per-semester tuition for full-time students forces colleges like Pierpont to raise tuition for part-time students, who currently pay based on credit hours.
If allowed to participate in the pilot project, Larson said Pierpont would be able to lower credit-hour tuition rates overall.
She said that while full-time students would see tuition increases of less than $100 a semester, part-time students could save hundreds of dollars over the course of their college careers.
Larson said semester tuitions are a holdover from the days when most students at four-year colleges lived on campus and attended school full time.
"Our students are no longer like that, even at four-year schools," she said.