H. B. 2155

(By Delegates Mezzatesta and Williams)
[Introduced January 13, 2003; referred to the
Committee on Education then Finance.]

A BILL to amend and reenact section one, article ten, chapter eighteen-b of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, relating to higher education; tuition and fees; and providing a method for setting a cap on tuition and fees.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That section one, article ten, chapter eighteen-b of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:

§18B-10-1. Enrollment, tuition and other fees at education institutions; refund of fees.

(a) Each governing board shall fix tuition and other fees for each school term for the different classes or categories of students enrolling at each state institution of higher education under its jurisdiction and may include among such fees any one or more of the following:
(1) Health service fees;
(2) Infirmary fees;
(3) Student activities, recreational, athletic and extracurricular fees, which fees may be used to finance a students' attorney to perform legal services for students in civil matters at such institutions. Provided, That Such legal services shall be limited only to are limited to only those types of cases, programs or services approved by the administrative head of such the institution where such the legal services are to be performed; and
(4) Graduate center fees and branch college fees, or either, if the establishment and operations of graduate centers or branch colleges are otherwise authorized by law.
(b) All fees collected at any graduate center or at any branch college shall be paid into special funds and shall be used solely for the maintenance and operation of the graduate center or branch college at which they were collected: Provided, That the commission shall set tuition and fee goals for residents at each institution after examining tuition and fees at the institutions' peers: Provided, however, That, effective the first day of July, two thousand one, tuition and fees for nonresident, undergraduate students shall, at a minimum, cover actual instructional costs as determined in accordance with commission policy: Provided further, That students enrolled in undergraduate courses offered at off-campus locations shall pay an off-campus instruction fee and shall not may not be required to pay the athletic fee and the student activity fee.
(c) The off-campus instruction fee shall be used solely for the support of off-campus courses offered by the institution. Off-campus locations for each institution shall be defined by the appropriate governing board. The schedule of all fees, and any changes therein, shall be entered in the minutes of the meeting of the appropriate governing board, and the board shall file with the legislative auditor a certified copy of such schedule and changes.
(d) In addition to the fees mentioned in the preceding paragraph, each governing board may impose and collect a student union building fee. All such building fees collected at an institution shall be paid into a special student union building fund for such institution, which is hereby created in the state treasury, and shall be used only for the construction, operation and maintenance of a student union building or a combination student union and dining hall building or for the payment of the principal of and interest on any bond issued to finance part or all of the construction of a student union building or a combination student union and dining hall building or the renovation of an existing structure for use as a student union building or a combination student union and dining hall building, all as more fully provided in section ten of this article. Any moneys in such funds not needed immediately for such purposes may be invested in any such bonds or other securities as are now or hereafter authorized as proper investments for state funds.
(e) The boards shall establish the rates to be charged full-time students enrolled during a regular academic term.
(1) For fee purposes, a full-time undergraduate student is one enrolled for twelve or more credit hours in a regular term, and a full-time graduate student is one enrolled for nine or more credit hours in a regular term.
(2) Undergraduate students taking fewer than twelve credit hours in a regular term shall have their fees reduced pro rata based upon one twelfth of the full-time rate per credit hour, and graduate students taking fewer than nine credit hours in a regular term shall have their fees reduced pro rata based upon one ninth of the full-time rate per credit hour.
(3) Fees for students enrolled in summer terms or other nontraditional time periods shall be prorated based upon the number of credit hours for which the student enrolls in accordance with the above provisions.
(f) All fees are due and payable by the student upon enrollment and registration for classes except as provided for in this subsection:
(1) The governing boards shall permit fee payments to be made in up to three installments over the course of the academic term. Provided, That all fees must All fees shall be paid prior to the awarding of course credit at the end of the academic term.
(2) The governing boards also shall authorize the acceptance of credit cards or other payment methods which may be generally available to students for the payment of fees. Provided, That The governing boards may charge the students for the reasonable and customary charges incurred in accepting credit cards and other methods of payment.
(3) If a governing board determines that the finances of any student were a student's finances are affected adversely by a legal work stoppage, that commenced on or after the first day of January, one thousand nine hundred ninety-three it may allow the student an additional six months to pay the fees for any academic term. Provided, That The governing board shall determine on a case-by-case basis if the finances of a student were are affected adversely.
(g) On or before the first day of July, two thousand one, the chancellor for higher education shall review policy series twenty-two of the governing boards, related to assessment, payment and refund of fees and determine whether a new rule should be adopted regarding the refund of any fees upon the voluntary or involuntary withdrawal from classes of any student. The rules The rule related to assessment, payment and refund of fees
including refund of fees upon voluntary or involuntary withdrawal from classes, shall comply with all applicable state and federal laws and shall be uniformly applied throughout the system.
(h) In addition to the other fees mentioned in the preceding subsections provided in this section, each governing board may impose, collect and distribute a fee to be used to finance a nonprofit, student-controlled public interest research group Provided, That if the students at such institution demonstrate support for the increased fee in a manner and method established by that institution's elected student government. Provided, however, That such fees shall Such a fee may not be used to finance litigation against the institution.
(i) Any proposed fee increase which would become effective during the transition year beginning on the first day of July, two thousand, and ending on the thirtieth day of June, two thousand one, and which has been approved by the governing board, shall then be submitted by the governing board to the secretary for education and the arts for approval. Such approval shall be granted only upon the certification that such institution requesting a fee increase is in compliance with the strategic plans required to be submitted, pursuant to section one-b, article one of this chapter. Notice, in the form of a report, shall be provided by the chancellor to the legislative oversight commission on education accountability describing such fee increases and showing how such increases compare with the average tuition and fees charged at comparable peer institutions in member states of the southern regional education board.
(j) Effective the first day of July, two thousand one, tuition and fees rates shall be determined in accordance with subsections (k), (l) and (m) of this section.
(k) Effective the first day of July, two thousand one, Institutions shall retain tuition and fee revenues not pledged for bonded indebtedness or other purposes in accordance with a revised tuition policy adopted by the respective governing boards and approved by the commission. The revised tuition policy shall:
(1) Provide a basis for establishing nonresident tuition and fees;
(2) Allow institutions to charge different tuition and fees for different programs; and
(3) Establish methodology, where applicable, to ensure that, within the appropriate time period under the compact, community and technical college tuition rates for community and technical college students in all independently accredited community and technical colleges will be commensurate with the tuition and fees charged by their peer institutions.
(l) No penalty shall (j) A penalty may not be imposed by the commission upon any institution based upon the number of nonresidents who attend the institution unless the commission determines that admission of nonresidents to any institution or program of study within the institution is impeding unreasonably the ability of the resident students to attend the institution or participate in the programs of the institution. The institutions shall report annually to the commission on the numbers of out-of-state residents nonresidents and such other enrollment information as the commission may request.
(m) (k) Tuition and fee increases of the governing boards are subject to rules adopted by the commission pursuant to subsection (a), section four, article one-b of this chapter. The percentage of a tuition and fee increase for resident students at any institution for any year may not exceed the percentage of growth of the state general revenue budget in the preceding fiscal year. In any case a resident tuition and fee increase may not exceed four percent in any year.

NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to provide a method for setting a cap on tuition and fees for higher education.

Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.