Charleston Gazette-Mail: Higher ed leader wants to create college-going culture in WV


BY SAMUEL SPECIALE

Fewer students are attending and completing college in West Virginia, a statistic that, along with budget cuts and increases in tuition, has state higher education officials concerned.

With the state’s college-going and completion rates falling to 55 and 24 percent, respectively, West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission Chancellor Paul Hill wants students to see the importance of earning a postsecondary education.

“We want to create a college-going culture,” he said Tuesday during a meeting with Gazette-Mail editors.

The college-going rate in West Virginia — the number of students attending either an in-state of out-of-state college — is one of the lowest in the country. The national average is nearly 63 percent.

Hill said West Virginia once had a similar rate, though decreases can be attributed to the recent economic downturn. The statistics concern Hill, who said research continues to indicate that future jobs will require more than a high school diploma.

Research shows nearly 50 percent of jobs in West Virginia will require some postsecondary training or a college degree by 2020. Only 27 percent of the state’s workforce currently has at least a two-year degree. Read the full story »