The combination of soaring college tuition and a sluggish stock market may put West Virginia's pre-paid college tuition program in the hole by autumn, according to the state treasurer's office. Given how important education is to moving the state forward, finding a solution to this situation is crucial.
Charles Bockway, the deputy state treasurer who oversees the tuition plan, raised the red flag this week, saying that the plan's investments had not earned anything substantial for two years in a row. In three years the plan's investments have averaged a 4.4 percent return, with a tiny .04 percent return for the fiscal year that ended in May.
That's not enough to cover rising costs at state institutions, which increased tuition by an average of 9.2 percent this year. It's no consolation that other states' plans are in the same situation, because West Virginia's program had only a $3.3 million surplus last year and may have none at all this year.