Higher education vs. financial burdens

Alderson Broaddus University and West Virginia University (WVU), two schools not far from Waynesburg University, have had recent financial trouble. WVU has made several cuts over the past few months and Alderson Broaddus completely shut down due to money issues. I am from Morgantown and I know a few athletes from Alderson Broadus, so I have heard a few different opinions on both situations in order to form my own. 

On July 31, Alderson Broaddus trustees made the decision that the school needed to close due to a “rapidly deteriorating financial condition”. Professors and students were told of the closing only a week before the actual closing, leaving them little time to find a new job or a new school. I am aware of a few students who attended the year prior on athletic scholarships and other students who were coming up on their first year at Alderson Broaddus. These students had to reach out to schools such as Fairmont State University and West Virginia Wesleyan College in order to join a new team or simply get an education. 

As far as professors, it would have been more beneficial to decide on the closing earlier in the summer in order for these teachers to start looking for another job. Financial troubles can be caught early and should have been looked at during the school year in order to be sure of another good year for Alderson Broaddus. Jobs are not easy to come by, especially when it comes to working at a university, so this late decision was not beneficial for professors who are now unemployed. 

While WVU is still a university, the school has also been dealing with financial struggles and has eliminated degrees such as art history, jazz studies, printmaking, ceramics, and sculpture programs, linguistics, legal studies, biometric systems engineering, and plenty more. As far as administrators, they have not been told who is out of a job. Most professors who work in a program that has been cut are now teaching a broader subject related to their original program. An announcement of the cuts will be made on Oct. 16. 

Enrollment has also been a recent issue for WVU, dropping 10% since 2015 according to multiple studies. This is one of the reasons cuts are being made in order to save money. However, cutting programs is ultimately not going to increase enrollment in the future because it eliminates a wide variety of majors for students to choose from that many other schools can offer them. 

The question that I keep asking myself is “who is responsible for this budget misjudgement and do they realize the lives they have drastically impacted?” Because of these miscalculations at both schools, employees will find themselves without a job and unable to provide like they did before. Several precautions or warnings could have been taken in order for anyone involved to make a decision based on their position in the situation.