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College Foundation of West Virginia sets goal to increase FAFSA completion rates

February 11, 2016

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The College Foundation of West Virginia (CFWV) today announced a goal to increase the number of 12th graders who complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or “FAFSA” to 60 percent.  Last year, 57 percent of high school seniors completed the FAFSA, which is the primary application for state and federal financial aid for college. As of January 29, eight percent of this year’s 12th graders have completed the form. A complete list of FAFSA completion rates by high school is available at  According to a report from the White House, “The President’s Plan for Early Financial Aid,”…

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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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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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Higher Education Policy Commission chair calls for focus on college completion following tuition vote

June 22, 2015

Charleston, W.Va. – Dr. Bruce Berry, chair of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, today released the following statement after the Commission voted 5-2 to approve in-state student tuition increase requests from West Virginia University (9.7 percent) and Potomac State College of WVU (8.1 percent), while voting 6-1 for an in-state student tuition increase request from West Virginia State University (7 percent) for the 2015-16 academic year: “Affordability remains one of the biggest challenges facing West Virginia’s higher education community. As our state’s public network of colleges and universities, the responsibility lies with us to ensure West Virginians have…

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College Goal Sunday event offers free assistance in applying for college financial aid

February 5, 2015

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia students can get free help completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and other financial aid forms during West Virginia’s sixth annual College Goal Sunday event. College Goal Sunday financial aid workshops will be held February 15 from 1 to 4 p.m. at 24 locations across the state. “Completing the FAFSA is critical for anyone considering going to college,” Brian Weingart, Senior Director of Financial Aid at the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, said. “Students must submit this form in order to be considered for a variety of financial aid programs including…

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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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