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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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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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WVNS: Summers County High Recognizes College Bound Seniors

May 5, 2017
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James Ikie Brooks

The Chronicle of Higher Education: Ikie’s College Dream

January 12, 2017

How grit, determination, and community support helped one West Virginia student in a dying town that is struggling to come to terms with a coal bust and opioid addiction By Julia Schmalz See the full-size video here The empty coal train creaking its way through Madison, W.Va., captured the attention of residents on the streets of the once-prosperous community. Located in Boone County, the heart of coal country, townspeople hoped it was a sign that a coal mine was reopening — somewhere. Devastated by the opioid epidemic and loss of good-paying jobs, Madison once supported three department stores. But that…

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MetroNews: New FAFSA goal set for West Virginia high school seniors

December 12, 2016

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — By April 15, those with the College Foundation of West Virginia want to see the number of 12th graders in the Mountain State completing the FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, climb to 60 percent. “We know that the jobs of the state of West Virginia are changing,” said Dr. Paul Hill, chancellor for the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, noting that 50 percent of the jobs being created within the state require some for of post-secondary education. “Because our state economy is being driven increasingly more by those who have attained post-secondary education,…

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MetroNews: Fifteen to Finish program promotes faster college graduation rates

November 6, 2016

FAIRMONT, W.Va. — Fairmont State junior and Boone County native Taylor Raby is glad she’s able to handle a full-time schedule–something that some students either aren’t able to or choose not to do. “I thought it was really important just to be able to graduate on time,” she said. “I’m actually going to be able to graduate early, hopefully.” The upperclassmen was one of nine students to talk with Dr. Paul Hill, Chancellor of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, on Thursday during a sit-down meeting to emphasize the importance of taking at least fifteen credit hours each semester.…

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Exponent Telegram: Students prepare for college during exploration and application week

November 6, 2016

CLARKSBURG — College Exploration and Application Week is a statewide initiative that provides students the opportunity to learn more about postsecondary options. While not all schools in Harrison County participated, offering guidance to students is a No. 1 concern for junior and senior guidance counselors during this time of year. The effort started in 2010 when the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission found that students had confusion about financial aid and college applications and tended to complete them later in the year, according to Jessica Kennedy, director of communications and outreach. “We wanted to make it a priority for…

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Register-Herald: WVU study shows increase in college graduates, and graduates who stay and work in W.Va.

November 1, 2016

A new study conducted by West Virginia University for the Higher Education Policy Commission shows that more students are graduating from public higher education institutions and more college graduates are employed in West Virginia. The study, “From Higher Education to Work in West Virginia, 2014” shows that 2,500 more graduates were working in the state in 2014 than in 2013. Researchers attribute the increase in employment to an increase in available graduates for the workforce. “The Commission has led a concerted effort to graduate more students from West Virginia’s colleges and universities since 2013,” said study co-author John Deskins, director of…

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Register-Herald: Job fair to be held Friday in Beaver

October 27, 2016

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is teaming up with big names in West Virginia education to bring a job and resource fair to Raleigh County on Friday. The event runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on October 28 at the Erma Byrd Higher Education Center, which is at 300 University Drive in Beaver. The Erma Byrd Center houses courses from colleges and universities from all over Southern West Virginia. Free classes will be offered, including “How to Market Yourself with a Regents of Bachelor’s Arts Degree” at 11:30 a.m. At noon, attendees will learn to “Create an Online Presence with…

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Gazette-Mail: Mascots dance off during college-going event

October 27, 2016

More than 1,500 ninth grade students participating in the West Virginia GEAR UP program packed into the Clay Center for the Arts for the student leadership academy. The program is a college readiness project coordinated by the state Higher Education Policy Commission and funded by the federal government. It serves students in 10 counties including Fayette, Boone, Mason, Mercer, Mingo, Nicholas, Summers, Webster, Wyoming and Wirt. Wednesday’s event featured speakers including Josh Shipp, a nationally renowned youth leadership coach, Paul Hill, chancellor of the state Higher Education Policy Commission, and Sarah Tucker, chancellor of the state Community and Technical College…

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Gazette-Mail: Students can apply for PROMISE, other financial aid sooner

September 14, 2016

The application which determines a student’s eligibility for financial aid to go to college and several of the state’s scholarships will be available sooner this year. Instead of waiting until of Jan. 1, 2017, to start the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, which is a required application that determines a student’s eligibility for financial aid, students will be able to start the application on Oct. 1 this year. Applications for three West Virginia scholarships (the Promise Scholarship; the Engineering, Science and Technology Scholarship; and the Underwood-Smith Teacher Scholarship) also will become available at the beginning of October. “We’re hoping…

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Gazette-Mail: Canadian scientist talks crime scene science with sold out Culture Center crowd

September 9, 2016

Jennifer Gardy is a detective, but not the kind you’re imagining. Instead of a pistol and handcuffs, the tools of Gardy’s trade are microscopes and DNA gels. “I’m the microbe detective,” she likes to tell people. Gardy actually is a senior scientist with the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control and has an assistant professorship at the University of British Columbia. In her day job, she studies how diseases are spread through the world and tries to track down the next big breakouts before they happen. Sometimes she’s a television show host, too. She is an occasional host of Canada’s…

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WV Public Broadcasting: Texting: Is it the key to a better college transition?

August 25, 2016

By Liz McCormick We use text messaging for a variety of things; to chat with family and friends, to check-in with a coworker, or send a photo, but what about for academics? The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission has been a pioneer in helping to develop a national text message counseling program that helps first-time college students transition more easily into college life. This year, that program goes statewide. Read the full story »

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State Journal: Report: WV public higher ed makes $2.7 billion annual impact on the state

August 5, 2016

According to research by West Virginia University, the state’s 21 public institutions of higher education contributed approximately $2.7 billion to the Mountain State’s economy in 2014. The research also showed that the public institutions supported 22,000 jobs. The study, commissioned by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission and completed by the WVU Bureau of Business and Economic Research, centered on West Virginia’s 12 four-year institutions and nine two–year institutions. The two institutions that were the largest contributors to the overall impact were West Virginia University (main campus) at $1.4 billion and Marshall University at $397.7 million. The impact numbers for…

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Gazette-Mail: High school students work with educators to get classmates to college

August 1, 2016

MORGANTOWN — Nearly 500 educators came to Morgantown for a two-day Student Success Summit, a conference that tries to connect the dots between educators of every grade, from preschool all the way through college. Here, students aren’t seen as passive recipients in the education system. They are not just kids to be taught at for eight hours a day. They are partners in education, a source of new ideas and an opportunity to try new things. Several of the panels and even the keynote address from Mark Moore, director of the state Department of Education’s Employee Development Center, highlighted ways…

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National College Access Network: How three cities plan to boost FAFSA completion

July 11, 2016

In May, NCAN announced the 22 U.S. cities we chose to receive up to $55,000 each for the FAFSA Completion Challenge Grant. Through this project, generously supported through a $1.6 million grant from The Kresge Foundation, NCAN is challenging the 22 cities to increase FAFSA completion rates by at least 5 percent for the graduating high school class of 2017. Two significant changes to the FAFSA coming this fall will make applying for aid easier and better-timed than ever for low-income students. The grant funding will support the planning and execution of citywide, cross-sector FAFSA completion efforts for the 2016-17…

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Gazette-Mail: Grant to help Kanawha students get help with financial aid

June 1, 2016

Charleston is one of 22 metropolitan areas nationwide to receive a $55,000 grant geared toward getting more high school seniors to complete the paperwork to get financial aid. The grant, from the National College Access Network, was announced Tuesday morning by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission. The award comes as the commission celebrates earlier news that, according to NCAN, West Virginia was one of only four states in the country to increase its number of students who completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. The federal government requires every student to submit the form before…

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MetroNews: W.Va. among top states with high FAFSA completions rates

May 23, 2016

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — More West Virginia students are completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid so far this year compared to last year, according to a recent announcement from the National College Access Network. West Virginia ranked 4th out of all 50 states for FAFSA completion, jumping from 10th place last year. As of this month, 52 percent of West Virginia high school seniors completed a FAFSA. “This really has been a collective effort and many folks around West Virginia have jumped in and wrapped their arms around this issue,” said Dr. Adam Green, vice chancellor of student affairs for…

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WBOY: West Virginia Student Leadership Conference Kicks Off in Jackson’s Mill

May 17, 2016

Full Story College students from around the state are learning more about how to lead at Jackson’s Mill this week. The West Virginia Student Leadership Conference kicked off in Jackson’s Mill Monday. The annual event connects students to campus leaders from around the state to help engage their campuses and each other. Organizers said that’s exactly how they want to enable their students. “We want to help them be more effective leaders. We know our students want to lead, and we think part of leadership is learning how to be better at that. Leadership is a skill that can be…

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WHS celebrates College Decision Day

May 11, 2016

While lots of ink and air time were devoted to last week’s NFL draft, area high school seniors were being recognized for making a different kind of decision. College Decision Day, sponsored by GEAR UP, was observed at Westside High last Thursday. About three dozen students headed to college or military service were recognized in a ceremony held in the school auditorium. The format was similar to a sports signing day. Senior , accompanied by parents and a favorite teacher, sat at a table and “signed” with a college, got their photo taken and were congratulated by the principal, assistant…

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Williamson Daily News: MCHS holds College Day

April 14, 2016

Published April 13, 2016 by the Williamson Daily News By Kyle Lovern – WVU, MU and Southern presidents attend RED JACKET – Mingo Central High School welcomed some important guests on Tuesday afternoon, the presidents of West Virginia University, Marshall University and Southern W.Va. Community and Technical College for their College Day assembly. Presidents Gordon Gee of WVU, Jerome Gilbert of MU and Robert Gunter of SWVCTC (Southern) all addressed thestudents, faculty and parents in attendance for the special day. Gary White of Logan, the former interim president of Marshall, was also at the event with Gilbert. Dr. Paul…

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West Virginia makes it easier to transfer college credits

February 29, 2016

by George Hohmann for the West Virginia Press Association About 200,000 West Virginians — 20 percent of the state’s adults — have some college credits but no degree and every year about 3,000 seek to transfer their credits, said Paul Hill, the state’s chancellor of higher education. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin thinks one path to improving the state’s last-place ranking in the percentage of residents with a college degree is to make it easier to transfer credits. Gov. Tomblin focused on this in his 2014 State of the State speech. “College students across the Mountain State report problems with the flow of class credits between public institutions of higher learning,” he…

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PROMISE Scholarship application opens Nov. 2

November 2, 2015

Charleston Gazette-Mail by Samuel Speciale Applications for West Virginia’s Promise Scholarship will be available starting Monday. The merit-based financial aid program, which covers up to $4,750 in tuition and fees, is awarded to eligible high school graduates. The application is available until March 1, the same day students must turn in their Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also known as the FAFSA. While receiving the scholarship requires meeting academic benchmarks, one higher education official said eligibility should not keep a student from applying. “Basically, if you are a high school student in West Virginia, apply,” said Brian Weingart, director…

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

October 28, 2015

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…

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