West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission awarded $3 million to help first-generation students in Northern Panhandle earn credentials after high school

CHARLESTON, WV – The U.S. Department of Education recently announced that the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (Commission) will receive two Upward Bound Math and Science grants of nearly $1.5 million each to help low-income students in the Northern Panhandle who will be the first in their families to earn a postsecondary credential or degree. Together with partner institution West Liberty University (WLU), the Commission will work over the next five years with students at John Marshall High School and Weir High School to encourage and support them in pursuing postsecondary education.

“This is an incredible opportunity for us to work more directly and intentionally with students in these two high schools to help them see and take advantage of the terrific opportunities that await them after graduation,” said Dr. Sarah Armstrong Tucker, West Virginia’s Chancellor of Higher Education. “We know that the number of high school graduates pursuing education or training has been declining, and we know we must do much more to support them – especially those students who would be the first in their families to go to college. We are incredibly excited to start this work, and to let more students know that postsecondary education is the best path to good jobs in West Virginia.”

“We look forward to working with the Commission in supporting Weir and John Marshall High School students through a variety of initiatives and opportunities. We have many alumni from these schools and know well the value these college graduates make to our region. West Liberty University is eager to assist the Commission in the year-round college readiness offerings on and off campus and we thank the Commission for its leadership. We look forward to helping these prospective students build better lives with quality degrees that fit their career goals,” said Katie Cooper, WLU’s Interim Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management.

The federal Upward Bound Math and Science program will provide a variety of initiatives and support services to promote student learning, success and knowledge of postsecondary education. Students will receive year-round college readiness and support guidance, assistance in preparing for college entrance exams, along with academic, financial and personal counseling. Students will also gain exposure to college campuses and the college classroom environment, participate in mentoring to help ensure their success, and engage in summer programming with intensive math and science training. Participants will have the opportunity to conduct scientific research under the guidance of college faculty members or graduate students.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, 84 percent of Upward Bound and Upward Bound Math and Science participants who graduated from high school in 2017-18 enrolled in postsecondary education soon after high school graduation.

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