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Jessica Tice
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Over 450 West Virginia schools registered to participate in “College Application and Exploration Week”

November 1, 2019

“College Application and Exploration Week” helps students explore postsecondary options and careers CHARLESTON, W.Va. – “College Application and Exploration Week” will be celebrated statewide on November 4 – 8. Students, from pre-school to adult learners, will participate in hands-on college planning activities including college application workshops, panel discussions with current college students, college scavenger hunts, and trivia contests. They will also learn about different types of college options available such as certificate programs, career and technical programs, two-year degree programs, four-year degree programs, and military experience. “The path our students take after high school is one of the most important…

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News Release: West Virginia students celebrate national initiative that helps them plan for life after high school

September 24, 2018

‘West Virginia GEAR UP’ assists thousands of West Virginia students with planning for an education or training beyond high school  CHARLESTON, W.Va. – This week, thousands of students in 10 West Virginia counties are celebrating a program that helps them prepare for postsecondary education. GEAR UP, which stands for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs, is a federally funded program that helps to promote a college-going culture among schools all throughout the United States. In the Mountain State, the West Virginia GEAR UP program serves more than 5,000 students through activities that encourage and assist them in planning…

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Rising high school juniors to “GEAR UP” for college during annual college prep academy

June 25, 2018

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – This Wednesday, more than 220 rising high school juniors are expected to arrive in Huntington, WV, to participate in a summer academy that gives students a taste of college life. The West Virginia “Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs” (GEAR UP) program will host its annual GEAR UP U event on the campus of Marshall University from Wednesday, June 27 to Saturday, June 30. GEAR UP U, which is coordinated by staff of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (Commission), will give students the opportunity to sharpen their leadership skills, to participate in team-building activities and to engage…

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Statewide “College Decision Day” events to celebrate graduating high school seniors

April 16, 2018

Statewide “College Decision Day” events to celebrate graduating high school seniors CHARLESTON, W.Va. – High schools all across the state will be recognizing seniors who have chosen to pursue some form of education or training beyond high school. More than 50 schools have registered to participate in the College Foundation of West Virginia’s (CFWV’s) fourth annual statewide “College Decision Day” campaign. College Decision Day events serve as opportunities for seniors to commit to pursuing a postsecondary pathway and for educators and underclassmen to celebrate seniors’ ambitions to continue their education beyond high school. College Decision Day events will happen statewide from April…

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West Virginia students earning higher GPAs, completing first year of college thanks to text messaging service

December 6, 2017

West Virginia students are earning higher grade point averages, successfully completing first year of college thanks to text messaging service Rural students benefit from college counseling via “Txt 4 Success” initiative CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Like many college juniors, Chelsea Goins is well-versed in juggling responsibilities. Not only is she a student at Concord University, but she also has three on-campus jobs, participates in cheerleading and teaches dance classes in her community. Her busy schedule makes it easy to forget about college deadlines. Luckily, she receives reminders directly on her cellphone. The College Foundation of West Virginia’s (CFWV’s) “Txt 4 Success” initiative works…

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West Virginia schools to celebrate statewide College Application and Exploration Week

November 1, 2017

West Virginia schools to celebrate statewide College Application and Exploration Week More than 350 schools registered to help students explore postsecondary options, careers CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Schools across the state will participate in the College Foundation of West Virginia’s (CFWV’s) College Application and Exploration Week initiative scheduled for November 6 – 10. During the week, staff from participating schools – from pre-schools to adult learning centers – will provide students with age-appropriate information pertaining to colleges and careers. Students will learn about the importance of pursuing some form of college after high school, whether it is certificate and technical programs,…

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College Foundation of West Virginia sets new goal for completion of federal student aid application

October 2, 2017

College Foundation of West Virginia sets new goal for completion of federal student aid application CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Today, the College Foundation of West Virginia (CFWV) announced the statewide goal to have at least 63 percent of high school seniors file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by April 15, 2018. Filing the FAFSA is the first step in applying for financial aid for college. Students who file the FAFSA are considered for the Federal Pell Grant, which awards up to $5,920 annually to students to cover the cost of tuition and other education expenses. Additionally, students must…

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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.  

Higher Education Policy Commission urges students to take ’15 to Finish’

August 16, 2017

Campaign aims to increase college-completion rates, save students money CHARLESTON, W.Va. –  As colleges across the state kick off the fall semester, officials at the Higher Education Policy Commission (HEPC) are reminding students of the importance of earning at least 15 credit hours per semester to stay on track for graduation. Through their “15 to Finish” campaign, HEPC policy experts hope to help more students complete degree programs and reduce the overall cost of higher education. Federal financial aid policies define “full-time” enrollment as 12 credits per semester, and, as a result, many students taking only 12 hours think they…

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Smart Student Loan Borrowing

State higher ed officials offer guidance on student loan borrowing

July 5, 2017

Eight tips for financing higher education CHARLESTON, W.Va. – As students and families across the state are planning their budgets for the fall semester of college, the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (HEPC) and Community and Technical College System (CTCS) today issued guidance on making smart choices when it comes to student loan borrowing. “Choosing to pursue education and training beyond high school is undoubtedly a sound investment,” Dr. Paul Hill, Chancellor at the Commission, said. “But just like with any other financial decision, it’s imperative that students make informed choices in deciding the type and amount of loans…

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West Virginia ‘GEAR UP’ to host college prep academy at Concord University

June 12, 2017

ATHENS, W.Va. – On Wednesday, nearly 200 high school sophomores are expected to arrive at Concord University to attend GEAR UP U, a summer academy designed to give students the opportunity to experience life on a college campus. The event, which runs this Wednesday, June 14 through Saturday, June 17, is sponsored by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission’s (HEPC’s) federally funded “Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP)” initiative. During GEAR UP U, students will live on the campus of Concord University, go to classes based on their chosen major and hone their leadership skills. Students will also participate in…

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WVNS: Summers County High Recognizes College Bound Seniors

May 5, 2017
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Report: More Mountain State students pursuing higher education

May 2, 2017

Braxton, Doddridge and Clay counties lead the way in improving college-going rates Charleston, W.Va. – More West Virginia high school graduates went on to pursue higher education last year, according to a report released today by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (HEPC) and West Virginia Community and Technical College System (CTCS). The college-going rate increased for the second consecutive year, inching up by 0.3 percent — or 266 students — from 2015 to 2016. “These gains, while subtle, represent a solid step in the right direction,” Dr. Paul Hill, HEPC Chancellor, said. “For several years, the impact of…

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May 1 deadline approaching for West Virginia Higher Education Grant Program applications

April 24, 2017

Charleston, W.Va. – The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (HEPC) and Community and Technical College System (CTCS) today reminded students that May 1 is the deadline to apply for the Higher Education Grant Program (HEGP), the state’s need-based financial aid program. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which is the only application required to be considered for the grant, can be completed at https://fafsa.ed.gov. “We always encourage students to complete the FAFSA to see if they are eligible for this grant program, which helps cover the cost of tuition and fees at two- and four-year colleges and…

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Mingo Central High School College Decision Day 2016

High schools across West Virginia to participate in ‘College Decision Day’ events

April 18, 2017

Schools to celebrate students’ commitment to pursuing higher education CHARLESTON, W.Va. – High schools across West Virginia are hosting celebrations to honor seniors who plan to enroll in college or training programs after graduation. More than 40 schools will participate in the College Foundation of West Virginia’s (CFWV)’s fourth annual College Decision Day campaign. CFWV is a statewide college readiness initiative coordinated by the Higher Education Policy Commission (HEPC) and Community and Technical College System (CTCS). “Growing our economy will depend on growing the skills and capacity of our workforce,” Dr. Sarah Tucker, Chancellor of the CTCS, said. “Students who commit to pursuing higher…

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West Virginia ‘GEAR UP’ to host Career Academy

April 10, 2017

More than 1,000 students expected to attend event featuring U.S. Senators, industry leaders, STEM celebrities CHARLESTON, W.VA. — More than 1,000 ninth graders are visiting Charleston this week to explore career fields and gain insight from business and industry leaders. The West Virginia GEAR UP Career Academy, happening Thursday, April 13, at the Charleston Civic Center, will feature hands-on activities and interactive presentations to help students learn about career paths and plan for their futures. The West Virginia GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) initiative is a federally funded grant program administered by the state’s Higher Education Policy…

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State extends application deadline for Higher Education Grant Program until May 1

April 3, 2017

CHARLESTON, W.VA. — West Virginia’s Higher Education Policy Commission (HEPC) and Community and Technical College System (CTCS) today announced that this year’s application deadline for the need-based Higher Education Grant Program has been extended until 11:59 p.m. on Monday, May 1, 2017. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which is the only application required for the grant, can be completed at https://fafsa.ed.gov.   The state extended the deadline because of a technology issue at the federal level. Last month, the U.S. Department of Education and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced an outage of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, which allows…

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West Virginia GEAR UP launches Student Success Society in area high schools

January 19, 2017

New program to promote student involvement in school and the community   CHARLESTON, W.VA. — Brenda Smith, a counselor at Westside High School in Wyoming County, has been working with students for more than 30 years. Her experience has taught her that when students feel like they are part of something bigger, they are far more likely to succeed.   “Especially those students who might otherwise fade into the background,” Smith said. “Maybe they are shy or a little unmotivated. If you can find a way to give them that nudge — to get them involved — you can make…

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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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2016 WV Higher Education Report Card

Higher ed ‘Report Card’: State colleges retaining, graduating more students

January 10, 2017

Statewide initiatives generating results despite budget challenges CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia’s state colleges and universities are retaining more students and have generated record numbers of graduates in recent years, thanks to statewide efforts to improve student success. However, continued positive results could be hindered by budget challenges and increased tuition costs, state higher education officials told members of Legislative Oversight Commission on Education Accountability (LOCEA) today.  During the meeting, representatives from the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (Commission) and West Virginia Community and Technical College System (CTCS) provided an overview of findings from the annual West Virginia Higher…

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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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Education leaders across the state are joining forces to help students improve their financial skills. Pictured (left to right): Dr. Adam S. Green, West Virginia GEAR UP; Dr. Paul L. Hill, West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission; Dr. Amelia Courts, The Education Alliance; James “Ikie” Brooks, Marshall University (student); Lesia Sammons, Mingo County Schools; John Perdue, State Treasurer; Christy Scott, West Virginia Bankers Association; Gina Joynes, State Treasurer’s Office; and Vanessa Keadle, West Virginia GEAR UP.

Education leaders launch new “Make Cents WV” partnership to tackle financial literacy

December 8, 2016

Charleston, W.Va. – Education leaders across the state are joining forces to help students improve their financial skills. Earlier today, the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (Commission) and The Education Alliance unveiled a new initiative, “Make Cents WV,” to provide financial literacy tools and resources to students, families and educators.  The effort, which is led by The Education Alliance and funded by a grant from the Commission’s federal West Virginia GEAR UP program, will emphasize financial planning within the context of preparing for higher education programs.  “Postsecondary education represents a major investment,” Dr. Paul Hill, Chancellor of the Commission, said. “This effort is…

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Class of 2017 FAFSA Completion Rates by WV County

College Foundation of West Virginia sets goal to increase FAFSA completion rates to 60 percent

December 1, 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 by April 15. Students planning to attend college during the 2017-18 academic year can complete the FAFSA online now at www.fafsa.gov using their 2015 tax returns. April 15 is the deadline for students to submit the form and be considered for the West Virginia Higher Education Grant Program, which provides grants to students based on their financial need.  This past year (as of November 18), 58.5%…

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W.Va. sees gains in college freshmen enrollment

November 18, 2016

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The number of students entering a four-year college is on the rise in West Virginia, according to information reported during a meeting of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission held earlier today. State officials said the number of freshmen on West Virginia’s public four-year college campuses increased by 3.7 percent from last year.  “These increases are reflective of the strong emphasis the Commission and its partners have placed on college access and success,” Paul Hill, Chancellor of the Commission said. “West Virginia needs more college graduates to meet workforce demands and grow our economy. I…

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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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Governor Tomblin proclaims “College Application and Exploration Week”

October 31, 2016

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (October 31, 2016) – Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has proclaimed this week as “College Application and Exploration Week” in recognition of the statewide campaign organized by the College Foundation of West Virginia (CFWV). Staff from nearly 450 schools will host college-planning activities throughout the week to help students consider their postsecondary education opportunities. Students who attend participating schools – from pre-schools to centers for adult learners – will learn the importance of pursuing some form of education or training beyond high school and the types of opportunities that are available in West Virginia, including certificate and technical programs,…

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