WSCC tuition break expanded

Neighboring W.Va. residents eligible for in-state rates

MICHAEL KELLY The Marietta Times John Carey, chancellor of the Ohio Department of Higher Education, talks to (from left to right) Kendra Knight, a Washington State Community College nursing student from Parkersburg; Darla Boone, director for the associate degree nursing program at the college; and Heather Kincaid, dean of health services programs at WSCC. Carey was at the Marietta campus on Monday to announce an expansion of the agreement that provides in-state tuition rates for residents of neighboring counties in West Virginia.

A degree from Washington State Community College, starting in the spring 2018 semester, will be a lot less costly for some students from West Virginia.

John Carey, chancellor for the Ohio Department of Higher Education, announced Monday in Marietta that residents of a dozen counties in West Virginia will be eligible for in-state tuition for all programs at the Ohio two-year institution.

In-state tuition is half the price of out-of-state tuition.

A reciprocity agreement already covered about a dozen programs offered by WSCC for residents of neighboring West Virginia counties, but the Monday announcement expands that agreement to all courses the college offers.

“We think this is a great way to serve students, and we hope more of your classmates and adults in your community will consider this an option,” Carey said to a group of West Virginia students there for the announcement.

Parkersburg resident Kelsey Short was one of them. The new agreement will have a profound impact on her.

She and her husband, Anthony Short, are liberal arts transfer students at WSCC. She is majoring in literature and her husband’s emphasis is psychology.

The expanded reciprocity program will save them several thousand dollars each a year in tuition costs.

“It will make the difference between having to take out student loans and not having to,” she said.

WSCC vice president of finance and operations Jess Raines said the new agreement is expected to take about $374,000 out the tuition revenue stream for the college but the state Department of Higher Education will absorb that.

He said 167 students from West Virginia are enrolled in programs that will be affected by the new reciprocity agreement.

He also expects enrollment to expand with the more attractive price for West Virginians.

“It’s a high quality education, and I think West Virginians would like that opportunity,” he said.

Among the programs affected by the lower tuition rate is the associate degree in nursing program, said Amanda Herb, the college’s vice president of enrollment.

The West Virginia counties covered by the agreement are:

¯ Brooke

¯ Hancock

¯ Jackson

¯ Marshall

¯ Ohio

¯ Pleasants

¯ Ritchie

¯ Roane

¯ Tyler

¯ Wetzel

¯ Wirt

¯ Wood

The previous agreement covered only programs that were not offered in West Virginia, such as diesel mechanics.

In-state tuition is $139 per credit hour, and out-of-state tuition is double that. An associate degree is normally four semesters of study with 15 hours per semester.

For eligible West Virginia students, that makes a difference of just over $2,000 a semester, or about $8,100 over the course of a two-year degree program that requires 15 credit-hours per semester.

About 10 percent of the students at WSCC are West Virginia residents, some of those in programs, such as diesel mechanics, already covered by the previous reciprocity agreement. The new agreement is expected to attract more students from across the Ohio.

“We believe that the in-state tuition rate will prompt a considerable number of West Virginia residents to consider WSCC. Washington State has long been known for its quality programs and success rates,” Herb said.

“By including all programs and all degrees in the reciprocity agreement, students will benefit from having access to our quality programs in a way that they’ve never had before. This is a great opportunity to expand educational options for the residents of the Mid-Ohio Valley.”

At a glance

Cost of attending Washington State Community College:

¯ In-state tuition: $139 per credit hour.

¯ Out-of-state tuition: $278 per credit hour.

¯ Base cost per year of tuition with no financial aid for a full-time in-state student pursuing an associate degree: About $4,170.

¯ For out-of-state student: $8,340.

Source: Washington State Community College.