As colleges nationwide hike tuition, the University of Charleston in West Virginia\'s capital will drop its tuition by 22 percent in 2012, its president says. Beginning in the fall 2012 semester, no undergraduate student will pay more than $19,500 in annual tuition and fees, a decrease of $5,500 from this year\'s costs, The Charleston Gazette reported Thursday. \"We\'re going to do this because for too long, college was out of reach for middle-class families,\" UC President Edwin Welch said. \"We are taking bold steps to ensure that we continue to meet the needs of students.\" In September, the private school saw 75 fewer students than expected begin class in the fall semester, costing the institution about 3 percent of its revenue and possibly putting several projects on hold, Welch said. UC has 1,339 full-time students. Welch said he hopes the tuition drop -- part of a five-year redesign plan -- will help the university compete with other private colleges in the region whose tuition costs likely would increase 4 percent to 5 percent next year, the Gazette reported. Welch said someone had to counter the perception that a private college is too expensive for middle-class students. \"We are revising tuition and financial aid to reflect the real cost of a UC education,\" he said.