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In the midst of a pandemic, innovation still drives higher education

September 1, 2020

by Sarah Armstrong Tucker, Chancellor of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission and Community and Technical College System West Virginia’s higher education institutions are powerful engines of innovation. Faculty and students are constantly exploring, discovering, and solving some of the most pressing problems facing society today. They challenge each other to advance in their studies and careers. They push for change and new ideas. In normal times, this work across our colleges and universities is formidable. But since March, our ability to continue that work became even more challenging as the COVID-19 pandemic began to change the way we…

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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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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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Governor Tomblin: College Application and Exploration Week: West Virginians explore postsecondary options

November 4, 2016

(November 4, 2016) – Today marks the close of West Virginia’s seventh annual “College Application and Exploration Week,” a statewide initiative to help our students evaluate their options to pursue higher education. Students at nearly 450 schools across the state, from preschools to adult learning centers, participated in events that allowed them to begin thinking about and preparing for college. Throughout this week, students worked to discover the type of college best suited for them. Whether a student chooses a community and technical college, a university, a trade school, or military service, what’s most important is that they strive to achieve…

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Kendyl Ryan

Kendyl Ryan: Push aside fear and pursue your dreams

September 27, 2016

Originally published in the Charleston Gazette-Mail, Daily Mail editorial page. Earlier this week, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin joined leaders across the nation in proclaiming this week “National GEAR UP Week,” highlighting the importance of going to college and encouraging students to pursue their dreams. It’s common knowledge that a high school education simply doesn’t cut it anymore. Going into an interview with a college degree gives the candidate an automatic edge over a candidate with a high school diploma. This is particularly true in West Virginia. According to statistics provided by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, half of…

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Bruce Vandal: WV leads nation in college completion strategies

September 26, 2016

Published in the Charleston Gazette-Mail, Gazette editorial page Last week, faculty and staff from West Virginia’s public colleges and universities set forth on a bold path to dramatically improve college completion rates in the state. The work occurred as part of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission’s Corequisite Academy, a two-day conference held in partnership with Complete College America to help campuses implement a new model for college students deemed to be “underprepared.” Developmental, or remedial, education has long been recognized as a major barrier to student success. For too many students, placement in these classes represents a dead…

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Governor Earl Ray Tomblin: Sending our kids off to college helps keep them here at home

August 26, 2016

Over the past few weeks, families across the state hugged their children goodbye and sent them off to college. For many, it was a bittersweet and emotional moment filled with both pride and sorrow, worry and relief. But we can all take heart. Because earning a college degree puts students on a path to fulfilling their dreams – and for many, that path leads back home. A recent study commissioned by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission and conducted by researchers at the West Virginia University Bureau of Business and Economic Research found that the majority of the Mountain State’s in-state…

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Jan Taylor: STEM education not just for kids (Daily Mail)

August 19, 2016

I believe that all kids are little scientists. This is especially evident when they ask all those “why” and “how” questions. By ensuring they continue to experience the fun and excitement of science as they grow older, we can create a new generation of scientists, researchers, innovators and entrepreneurs who will, in turn, grow our state’s economy. But, is it possible to reignite a love of the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects in people who are a little older? We at the Higher Education Policy Commission’s Division of Science and Research believe it’s more than possible. The idea…

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Exponent Telegram: FAFSA completion rate good news for West Virginia

June 1, 2016

The recent news that 52 percent of West Virginia high school seniors completed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is good news for the state. Young people who complete this process become eligible for student aid, such as grants, scholarships and loans, that can help them obtain a college education. Some West Virginia students who see the cost of a college tuition, plus what they might have to pay for room and board, and feel overwhelmed. But there’s lots of help for those who are eligible, and that’s especially true for those who are economically disadvantaged. All that…

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Huntington Herald-Dispatch editorial: New strategy for remedial classes appears to aid students

April 12, 2016

Published April 12, 2016 in the Huntington Herald-Dispatch One of the tell-tale signs that public education often falls short is that far too many students who graduate from high school aren’t adequately prepared to take on the rigors of college-level math and English. That’s not just a reference to students who did poorly in high school and did not intend to attend a college or university; it applies also to many students who plan to continue their studies and have been accepted at an institution of higher education. In the past, the answer for those students was to take remedial…

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Charleston Daily Mail editorial: A day to celebrate a college education

April 7, 2016

Published April 7, 2016 in the Charleston Gazette-Mail Enrolling in college or other post-high school training is the best decision some students will ever make. Despite the years of hard work, a post-secondary education for many students can set them on a course of lifelong success. That decision is to be celebrated, and the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission will do just that later this month. State education officials will gather with students at Mingo Central High School on April 12. Any student who has committed to… »READ MORE

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Chancellor Hill: Scientific discovery fuels minds, futures

February 25, 2016

This commentary appeared in the February 25, 2016 edition of the Charleston Gazette-Mail. As a young boy growing up in rural West Virginia, I loved discovery. I was fascinated by the idea of putting two things together and getting something entirely new, how things worked and why frogs croaked in the spring. So I was drawn to science. Scientific research is profoundly fascinating. Something starts as an idea, and with analytical powers, deep study and experimental creation, you end up with a problem solved, questions answered or a discovery made. Students from across our state who are at the Capitol…

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Chancellors Hill & Tucker: Colleges pledge to help veterans succeed

November 12, 2015

As West Virginians honor those who have served and continue serving this Veterans Day, our state’s public colleges and universities have rallied together to create a stronger level of support for veterans and service members who are working to further their education. This year, the Higher Education Policy Commission and Community and Technical College System of West Virginia launched the “5 Star Challenge,” which sets forth five exemplary standards for better supporting student veterans. And we are proud to say that all of our community and technical colleges and four-year institutions have accepted the challenge. According to spring 2015 enrollment…

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Chancellor Hill: Marking 50 years of the Higher Education Act

November 8, 2015

On November 8, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Higher Education Act, unparalleled federal legislation that strengthened investments in public colleges and universities and provided dedicated support to students pursuing higher education. On that day 50 years ago, he said, “This will swing open a new door for the young people of America…the most important door that will ever open – the door to education.” This was a touchstone moment for higher education in our country. It made postsecondary education a national priority and placed it within the reach of more lower- and middle-income Americans. And it avowed…

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Charleston Gazette editorial: A plan for college

November 3, 2015

From the Charleston Gazette-Mail Higher Education Chancellor Paul Hill shared some disturbing news in a meeting with Gazette-Mail editors last week: West Virginia has lost significant ground on the rate of high school graduates going on to college. As of five years ago, West Virginia had worked up to 61.5 percent of students going on to college after high school, close to the national average of 63 percent. Since then, that rate has dropped to about 55 percent, where it was 15 years ago. This is happening despite the continuing projections that most jobs in the future will require some…

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Charleston Daily Mail editorial: College-going culture can help drive economy

October 29, 2015

From the Charleston Gazette-Mail.  The statistics are well-known: West Virginia has the fewest adults with bachelor’s degrees, the fewest number of adults working and the highest student loan default rate in the country. Combating those statistics is hard, but something Higher Education Policy Commission Chancellor Paul Hill works to do every day. Hill and other HEPC officials met with a combined Gazette-Mail editorial board Tuesday to talk about the challenges West Virginia faces when it comes to post-secondary education. Hill wants to create a “college-going culture” in West Virginia. Though that may sound difficult, there are some things working in West Virginia’s…

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Chancellor Hill: The answer is higher education

August 31, 2015

This commentary appeared in the August 30, 2015 edition of the Charleston Gazette-Mail. In 1963, my father lost his coal mining job at the Kopperston No. 1 mine in Wyoming County. With very little money, we returned to our farm in Lincoln County, hoping for better days. It was a challenging time for our family – and a defining moment in my life. I observed intently as my father worked hard to sharpen his skills and his mind, taking night classes at a local high school. His resolve paid off when he earned a job in Richwood at the Department…

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Chancellor Hill: International view essential for higher education and economic growth

May 6, 2015

This commentary appeared in the May 3, 2015 edition of the Charleston Gazette. West Virginia’s economy is becoming increasingly more global. Companies from Europe, Asia and other regions have made strong, smart investments in our state. In fact, investments from 30 countries have resulted in more than 26,000 jobs in West Virginia. And in 2013, our state’s exports reached historic levels – with a total of more than $8.6 billion in products exported and tens of thousands of jobs supported. As a result of these remarkable developments, West Virginians need to be ready for the opportunities that exist in our…

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Governor Earl Ray Tomblin: Unlocking the door to a college education

February 23, 2015

High school seniors have the world at their fingertips – and a lot on their plates. Planning for the future can be overwhelming. Choosing what’s next after graduation is one of the biggest decisions they’ll face, but if that decision includes a college education then the first step is clear: Complete the FAFSA. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is the key to accessing both federal and state financial aid programs. Here in West Virginia, our goal is to get 55 percent of high school seniors to complete a FAFSA by April 15. Currently, only 19 percent of seniors…

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Governor Earl Ray Tomblin: College Application and Exploration Week: #WhyIChose

October 20, 2014

A column by Governor Earl Ray Tomblin (October 20, 2014) – Today marks the start of West Virginia’s fifth annual “College Application and Exploration Week,” a statewide celebration of the higher education opportunities available to our state’s students. This week, nearly 240 schools across the state will host college planning activities that provide guidance on how higher education can help students pursue and achieve their long-term career goals. Empowering students to enroll in — and complete — education and training beyond high school is the single most promising pathway to secure a bright future for our state’s next generation of…

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Chancellor Hill: 15 to Finish – a simple message to drive college completion

September 30, 2014

This commentary appeared in the September 30 edition of the Charleston Gazette.  When preparing for college, there are so many questions students must consider — from which school and major are the right fit, to choosing from financial aid options and mapping out schedules. Through all of this detailed planning, I believe it’s clear that students enter college with a real desire to graduate on time and start their careers as soon as possible. To help them reach that goal, the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission has launched a 15 to Finish campaign — with a simple but critical…

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Chancellor Hill: College pride runs deep in West Virginia; support for student success should too

August 21, 2014

Here in West Virginia, we’re proud of a lot of things – especially our sense of community. And all across our state, so many close-knit cities and towns are bolstered by college campuses that deepen our community pride. We identify ourselves as Mountaineers and Mountain Lions. We cheer for the Big Blue, the Fighting Falcons and the Thundering Herd. We are Rams, Yellow Jackets, Catamounts and Golden Bears. We are Hilltoppers and Pioneers. Above all else, we are West Virginians who are proud not only of our collegiate athletic teams – but of everything West Virginia’s public colleges and universities…

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Chancellor Hill: College affordability is a necessity – let’s make it a priority

June 20, 2014

Nearly 50 years ago, President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the first Higher Education Act, an unprecedented step that invested an increased level of federal dollars in colleges and universities and provided financial assistance for students pursuing higher education. The objective was to expand opportunities for students, inspire their minds and imaginations – and give them a running start toward a bright future. This was a touchstone moment for higher education in our country. It set the standard that if we invest strongly in postsecondary education, then we’re investing in people – in their futures and the strength of our…

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Governor Earl Ray Tomblin: A promise that is paying off

February 28, 2014

Like so many West Virginians, Crystin Povenski and her siblings were raised by parents who instilled in them the importance of hard work and the value of learning. She worked hard and, as a result of her good grades in high school and commitment to attending college in the Mountain State, she received a PROMISE Scholarship. After earning her degree from West Virginia University (WVU), Crystin was determined to begin her career in the state she loves. She said it was important for her to exhaust all job search efforts in West Virginia before considering looking elsewhere. Crystin reached her…

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Chancellor Hill: Leading the way with a bold plan for higher education

February 21, 2014

Today at the State Capitol, colleges and universities from across West Virginia have come together to showcase the vast opportunities for a high-quality postsecondary education right here at home. From Shepherdstown to Huntington, Morgantown to Athens, and at multiple points in between, we have an array of affordable options for earning college degrees at public institutions right in our own back yards. Together with these campuses, the Higher Education Policy Commission is tackling a new five-year master plan, Leading the Way: Access. Success. Impact., that builds on recent progress and sets forth bold aspirations for higher education – and a…

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