West Virginia’s first dual enrollment program to help thousands more high school students take college courses that lead to in-demand careers
CHARLESTON, WV – The West Virginia Legislature has adopted and Gov. Jim Justice has signed legislation establishing West Virginia’s first statewide dual enrollment program to allow more students to take college courses in high school. Through House Bill 2005, West Virginia’s higher education system will launch a pilot program this fall that will cover the costs of dual enrollment courses offered by the state’s colleges and universities that are tied to some of West Virginia’s most in-demand careers.
“Prior to this legislation, what we have had is a system that favors our highest achieving, highest performing students – those who were likely going to college anyway and whose families could afford to pay for the classes,” said Dr. Sarah Armstrong Tucker, West Virginia’s Chancellor of Higher Education. “Through this new program, we hope to extend those opportunities to low-income students and those who aren’t quite sure about their futures. By focusing this pilot program on academic courses linked to the most growing, in-demand jobs in the state, our goal is to place these students on a path to long-term, successful careers in West Virginia.”
State-funded dual enrollment will begin as a four-year pilot program, supporting up to an estimated 10,000 students per year. West Virginia’s public community and technical colleges and four-year institutions will offer courses in certain designated career pathways, such as health care, information technology, advanced manufacturing, construction, engineering, education, agriculture, and any other program that meets a workforce need in the state as determined by the West Virginia Department of Commerce.
“In recent years, West Virginia has made several major economic announcements regarding new investments and expansions that mean more jobs for our citizens,” Chancellor Tucker said. “But if we want to ensure the long-term success of these economic advancements and secure even more of them, we must provide the educated workforce that business and industries need. By helping more of our young people access college early, we’ll be doing more than we ever have before to meet those growing economic needs.”
West Virginia’s dual enrollment program represents the latest investment by the state in making college more accessible and affordable for students. The state’s Higher Education Policy Commission and Community and Technical College System administer more than $100 million in state-sponsored financial aid each year. This includes the West Virginia Invests grant, the state’s tuition-free community college program; the merit-based Promise Scholarship; and, the needs-based Higher Education Grant Program.
Details about the new dual enrollment program will be announced in the coming months. Information on all of West Virginia’s financial aid programs can be found at www.collegeforwv.com.