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Higher education Chancellor Paul Hill issues statement on the announcement of new jobs coming to the West Virginia Regional Technology Park

August 28, 2017

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – “On behalf of the state higher education system, I am so pleased to welcome N3 as our newest tenant at the West Virginia Regional Technology Park. The investment they have chosen to make in West Virginia will not only bring well-paying jobs for college graduates to our area but also support a region-wide culture of innovation and entrepreneurship. “Their decision to launch operations here speaks volumes of the quality of our facilities. But, more importantly, it serves as a reflection of the caliber of our workforce and the knowledge, skills and abilities of our recent college graduates.…

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West Virginia Center for Nursing awards $422,000 in scholarships to help nursing students earn a degree

August 25, 2017

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Center for Nursing announced today that 224 students will receive funds totaling $422,000 as part of the Nursing Scholarship Program. The program, which is administered by the West Virginia Center for Nursing in conjunction with the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (HEPC), helps licensed practical, registered, master’s and doctoral nursing students pursue their degrees. “The Center for Nursing plays a crucial role in helping address our state’s need for healthcare providers,” Dr. Paul Hill, Chancellor of the HEPC, said. “This scholarship is an example of our efforts to directly align our higher education…

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State higher ed official nationally recognized for service to student veterans

August 22, 2017

Higher Education Policy Commission staff member’s work ‘protects veterans’ education benefits’ CHARLESTON, W.Va. –  The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission’s director of veterans’ programs has received the National Association of State Approving Agencies’ (NASAA’s) highest recognition for his efforts to promote veterans’ education opportunities. L.G. Corder, Esq., Director of Veterans Education and Training Programs at the Policy Commission (HEPC), was recently presented the “President’s Award,” the top honor from NASAA, an organization dedicated to providing and safeguarding quality education and training programs for veterans. NASAA members work with government agencies, Congress, schools and employers to assure that veterans have…

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Higher education officials are urging college students to complete at least 15 credit hours per semester to stay on track for graduation.  

Parkersburg News and Sentinel: Stay on Track: College students, take 15 credits per semester

August 20, 2017

Young people across West Virginia have begun yet another year on college campuses as they work toward their degrees and pursuing their career goals. In fact, West Virginia University reported a record number of new freshmen enrollments this year — 6,224 of them, to be exact. As part of the effort to make sure all those freshmen, at WVU and every other institution of higher learning in the state, achieve their goals, the Higher Education Policy Commission is issuing a reminder: Earn at least 15 credits per semester to stay on track for graduation. Read the full story »

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Herald-Dispatch: Editorial: Rise in student aid applications a good sign for WV

August 17, 2017

It is really one of the first steps toward going to college or community college. But in recent years, only about half of West Virginia high school seniors have made it that far. So, it is encouraging to see that by the end of June this year, almost two-thirds of the state’s seniors had completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, called FAFSA for short. That’s up from about 57 percent from two years ago. This application starts the process that opens up the opportunity for students to win a Promise Scholarship, but also to qualify for many forms…

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Higher education officials are urging college students to complete at least 15 credit hours per semester to stay on track for graduation.  

Higher Education Policy Commission urges students to take ’15 to Finish’

August 16, 2017

Campaign aims to increase college-completion rates, save students money CHARLESTON, W.Va. –  As colleges across the state kick off the fall semester, officials at the Higher Education Policy Commission (HEPC) are reminding students of the importance of earning at least 15 credit hours per semester to stay on track for graduation. Through their “15 to Finish” campaign, HEPC policy experts hope to help more students complete degree programs and reduce the overall cost of higher education. Federal financial aid policies define “full-time” enrollment as 12 credits per semester, and, as a result, many students taking only 12 hours think they…

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WVVA: Byrd Higher Ed Center announces 10th anniversary scholarship winners

August 15, 2017

RALEIGH COUNTY, WV (WVVA) – For ten years, the Erma Byrd Higher Education Center has been helping make it possible for a segment of the student population to get their degrees. And now, the collaborative learning center is looking toward the next decade of serving students. Students, family and administrators gathered in front of the Erma Byrd Higher Education Center in Beaver to celebrate ten years of serving students. A time capsule, filled with messages of hope and thoughts of what the future may hold, was buried as part of a ceremony that awarded 30 students with $1,000 scholarships. “It’s…

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Photo of buttons that say FAFSA and a financial aid booklet

Gazette-Mail: Two-thirds of WV’s high school seniors apply for financial aid

August 14, 2017

Nearly two-thirds of all high school seniors in West Virginia had completed an important application by the end of June, according to the state’s Higher Education Policy Commission. The application, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is the first step for students to earn the Promise Scholarship and to qualify for other forms of federal student aid. In Kanawha County, where state officials secured a $55,000 grant to encourage more students to complete the application, there was at least an 8 percent bump from the 2014-15 school year. “Our high schools were very creative in reaching out to students…

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Higher Education Policy Commission recognizes Kanawha County high schools for college-going efforts

August 7, 2017

‘FAFSA Completion Challenge’ leads to more students applying for college financial aid CHARLESTON, W.Va. – State higher education officials are applauding the efforts of Kanawha County high schools for their part in a year-long “FAFSA Completion Challenge” campaign, a countywide effort to increase the number of 12th graders applying for college financial aid. During a training event for Kanawha County principals on Friday, representatives from the Higher Education Policy Commission (HEPC) joined Kanawha County Schools (KCS) Superintendent Dr. Ron Duerring to celebrate the results of the campaign, which led to a nine-point increase in the number of Kanawha County seniors…

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Dr. Paul Hill, Chancellor of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, congratulates students, faculty and staff on the ten-year success of the Erma Byrd Higher Education Center.

Erma Byrd Center celebrates tenth anniversary

August 4, 2017

Collaboration among colleges and universities expands access to higher education for students in Southern West Virginia BEAVER, W.Va. – State officials, students, faculty and community members gathered at the Erma Byrd Higher Education Center on Friday to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the facility’s opening. The Erma Byrd Center, which was West Virginia’s first collaborative higher education campus, offers classes and student services from Bluefield State College, Concord University and Marshall University. During Friday’s celebration, a variety of state and college officials offered congratulations and celebratory remarks, including Dr. Dave Swanson, chair of the Higher Education Foundation; Dr. Paul L.…

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Student Success Summit to focus on collaboration across education systems

July 25, 2017

Seventh annual Summit kicks off tomorrow in Morgantown MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Nearly 500 education administrators, teachers, students, military leaders and community group members will come together this week to tackle education issues in the Mountain State. The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (HEPC) and the West Virginia Department of Education will host the seventh annual statewide Student Success Summit on Wednesday, July 26 and Thursday, July 27 at the Marriott Waterfront Hotel and Conference Center in Morgantown. The Summit focuses on encouraging collaboration across the full length of the education pipeline. Representatives ranging from pre-school teachers to college presidents…

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Smart Student Loan Borrowing

State higher ed officials offer guidance on student loan borrowing

July 5, 2017

Eight tips for financing higher education CHARLESTON, W.Va. – As students and families across the state are planning their budgets for the fall semester of college, the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (HEPC) and Community and Technical College System (CTCS) today issued guidance on making smart choices when it comes to student loan borrowing. “Choosing to pursue education and training beyond high school is undoubtedly a sound investment,” Dr. Paul Hill, Chancellor at the Commission, said. “But just like with any other financial decision, it’s imperative that students make informed choices in deciding the type and amount of loans…

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MetroNews: Columbia University neuroscientist explains studying the brain

July 5, 2017

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Dr. Carl Schoonover has a fascination with the human brain, and has been studying how people connect memories with certain odors. The problem: the brain is too difficult to study using lab instruments. “It’s been very difficult look at it,” the Columbia University neuroscientist said. “If you just take a brain out of a skull, even put it under a microscope, all you’re going to see is a gray, undifferentiated mass. There’s nothing really there for you.” Schoonover gave a lecture Thursday in Charleston to explain how humans have studied the brain dating back to second century…

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Higher Education Policy Commission reports increase in student success rates following education reform

June 23, 2017

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – More Mountain State students are succeeding in college thanks, in part, to an overhaul in the way entry-level courses are taught. Earlier today during a meeting of the Higher Education Policy Commission (HEPC), state officials announced that recent efforts to reform developmental, or “remedial,” education are helping more students pass first-year math and English courses. Historically, one in four students at West Virginia’s public colleges and universities has been required to take developmental math or English classes because their high school grade point averages (GPAs) or entrance exam scores were below the threshold at which students are…

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West Virginia ‘GEAR UP’ to host college prep academy at Concord University

June 12, 2017

ATHENS, W.Va. – On Wednesday, nearly 200 high school sophomores are expected to arrive at Concord University to attend GEAR UP U, a summer academy designed to give students the opportunity to experience life on a college campus. The event, which runs this Wednesday, June 14 through Saturday, June 17, is sponsored by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission’s (HEPC’s) federally funded “Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP)” initiative. During GEAR UP U, students will live on the campus of Concord University, go to classes based on their chosen major and hone their leadership skills. Students will also participate in…

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Student leaders to tackle higher education issues, strengthening campus communities

May 12, 2017

WESTON, W.Va. – College students from across West Virginia are meeting next week at Jackson’s Mill to tackle issues facing the state’s higher education system and learn new ways to strengthen their campus communities. More than 75 student government representatives from West Virginia’s public two-year and four-year colleges and universities are participating in the annual West Virginia Student Leadership Conference, which kicks off Monday and continues through Wednesday. The conference is sponsored by the West Virginia Community and Technical College System (WVCTCS), the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (HEPC) and Shepherd University. During the conference, students will attend sessions…

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WVNS: Summers County High Recognizes College Bound Seniors

May 5, 2017
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Report: More Mountain State students pursuing higher education

May 2, 2017

Braxton, Doddridge and Clay counties lead the way in improving college-going rates Charleston, W.Va. – More West Virginia high school graduates went on to pursue higher education last year, according to a report released today by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (HEPC) and West Virginia Community and Technical College System (CTCS). The college-going rate increased for the second consecutive year, inching up by 0.3 percent — or 266 students — from 2015 to 2016. “These gains, while subtle, represent a solid step in the right direction,” Dr. Paul Hill, HEPC Chancellor, said. “For several years, the impact of…

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May 1 deadline approaching for West Virginia Higher Education Grant Program applications

April 24, 2017

Charleston, W.Va. – The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (HEPC) and Community and Technical College System (CTCS) today reminded students that May 1 is the deadline to apply for the Higher Education Grant Program (HEGP), the state’s need-based financial aid program. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which is the only application required to be considered for the grant, can be completed at “We always encourage students to complete the FAFSA to see if they are eligible for this grant program, which helps cover the cost of tuition and fees at two- and four-year colleges and…

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West Virginia University astrophysicist the focus of new documentary

April 20, 2017

Charleston, W.Va., April 19, 2017 – Early last year, a team of scientists detected gravitational waves in the universe – something that Albert Einstein predicted a hundred years prior in his theory of relativity. Dr. Sean McWilliams, from West Virginia University (WVU), was part of that team and is featured in a new video released by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission’s (HEPC) Division of Science and Research.   In the two-minute video, McWilliams, an assistant professor of physics and astronomy in WVU’s Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, shares how the detection of gravitational waves heightens scientists’ understanding of…

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Mingo Central High School College Decision Day 2016

High schools across West Virginia to participate in ‘College Decision Day’ events

April 18, 2017

Schools to celebrate students’ commitment to pursuing higher education CHARLESTON, W.Va. – High schools across West Virginia are hosting celebrations to honor seniors who plan to enroll in college or training programs after graduation. More than 40 schools will participate in the College Foundation of West Virginia’s (CFWV)’s fourth annual College Decision Day campaign. CFWV is a statewide college readiness initiative coordinated by the Higher Education Policy Commission (HEPC) and Community and Technical College System (CTCS). “Growing our economy will depend on growing the skills and capacity of our workforce,” Dr. Sarah Tucker, Chancellor of the CTCS, said. “Students who commit to pursuing higher…

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West Virginia ‘GEAR UP’ to host Career Academy

April 10, 2017

More than 1,000 students expected to attend event featuring U.S. Senators, industry leaders, STEM celebrities CHARLESTON, W.VA. — More than 1,000 ninth graders are visiting Charleston this week to explore career fields and gain insight from business and industry leaders. The West Virginia GEAR UP Career Academy, happening Thursday, April 13, at the Charleston Civic Center, will feature hands-on activities and interactive presentations to help students learn about career paths and plan for their futures. The West Virginia GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) initiative is a federally funded grant program administered by the state’s Higher Education Policy…

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State extends application deadline for Higher Education Grant Program until May 1

April 3, 2017

CHARLESTON, W.VA. — West Virginia’s Higher Education Policy Commission (HEPC) and Community and Technical College System (CTCS) today announced that this year’s application deadline for the need-based Higher Education Grant Program has been extended until 11:59 p.m. on Monday, May 1, 2017. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which is the only application required for the grant, can be completed at   The state extended the deadline because of a technology issue at the federal level. Last month, the U.S. Department of Education and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced an outage of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, which allows…

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West Virginia scientists present economic and community impact of research

February 8, 2017

Scientists at colleges and universities from across the state came together yesterday to discuss how their innovative research projects impact West Virginia’s communities and are contributing to economic growth. During the STEM Salon event, hosted by the Higher Education Policy Commission’s Division of Science and Research, four scientists gave brief presentations about their work. Representing Marshall University was Dr. Nadja Spitzer who spoke about her research into how exposure to silver nanoparticles could be affecting the brains of children and adults. Spitzer was awarded a prestigious CAREER award from the National Science Foundation for her research. She also spoke about…

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West Virginia GEAR UP launches Student Success Society in area high schools

January 19, 2017

New program to promote student involvement in school and the community   CHARLESTON, W.VA. — Brenda Smith, a counselor at Westside High School in Wyoming County, has been working with students for more than 30 years. Her experience has taught her that when students feel like they are part of something bigger, they are far more likely to succeed.   “Especially those students who might otherwise fade into the background,” Smith said. “Maybe they are shy or a little unmotivated. If you can find a way to give them that nudge — to get them involved — you can make…

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