Latest News

Media Contact

Jessica Tice
304-558-0699
jessica.tice@wvhepc.edu

West Virginia FAFSA Meter

College Foundation of West Virginia recognizes high schools for meeting FAFSA completion goal

November 30, 2015

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The College Foundation of West Virginia (CFWV) announced today that 32 high schools in West Virginia met or exceeded the State’s 2015 goal for increasing the number of 12th graders who complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or “FAFSA.”  In January, CFWV set a goal of ensuring that at least 60 percent of high school seniors complete the FAFSA, which is the primary application for state and federal financial aid for college, by September 1.  “Completing the FAFSA is one of the most important steps in pursuing higher education,” Brian Weingart, Senior Director for Financial Aid…

Continue Reading

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…

Continue Reading

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…

Continue Reading

1,300 eighth grade students ‘GEAR UP’ for college

October 22, 2015

West Liberty mascot wins ‘Mascot Mania’ contest CHARLESTON, W.Va. – More than 1,300 eighth graders attended the West Virginia ‘GEAR UP’ Student Leadership Academy held yesterday at the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences. ‘GEAR UP,’ which stands for “Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs,” is a federally funded college readiness program coordinated by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission.  During the event, students learned about college options and the importance of developing their leadership skills to take charge of their futures. Kendyl Ryan, a graduate of the West Virginia GEAR UP program, said GEAR UP has taught her to take…

Continue Reading
KENNY KEMP | Gazette-Mail

Charleston Gazette-Mail: WV college attendance program continues with new funding

October 22, 2015

BY RYAN QUINN About 1,300 West Virginia eighth graders danced, laughed and cheered Wednesday in Charleston at the kickoff event for a program to get kids from disadvantaged areas and backgrounds into college or other post-high school training — and take others with them. Last year, the U.S. Department of Education granted the Mountain State $21 million in its third Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) grant, according to Jessica Kennedy. Kennedy — director of communications and outreach for the Division of Student Affairs, part of West Virginia’s public higher education agencies — said the GEAR…

Continue Reading

MetroNews: More than 1,000 W.Va. eighth graders ‘GEAR UP’ for college

October 21, 2015

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Nearly 1,300 eighth grade students from 32 West Virginia schools were in Charleston Wednesday morning to participate in the state’s GEAR UP program at the Clay Center. The program teaches students, from pre-school to high school, how to take control of their futures by informing them about the steps needed to pursue higher education. “What that really is is to help other students be peer mentors, to spread the word about going to college, getting a career in mind early in their life and being prepared for college when they do go,” explained Dr. Paul Hill, chancellor…

Continue Reading

1,300 students to attend ‘GEAR UP’ student leadership academy in Charleston

October 20, 2015

For Planning Purposes: October 20, 2015 Contact: Jessica Kennedy, Director of Communications and Outreach Division of Student Affairs (304) 558-0655 – office • (304) 532-0911 – cell jessica.kennedy@wvhepc.edu  1,300 students to attend ‘GEAR UP’ student leadership academy in Charleston When: Wednesday, October 21 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. What: A leadership academy to inform students of college options and empower them to take charge of their futures. West Virginia GEAR UP will host a leadership academy featuring a presentation from Aric Bostic,  a nationally renowned youth leadership coach. Additionally, college mascots from across West Virginia will present dance routines incorporating college information…

Continue Reading

College Foundation of West Virginia hosting statewide ‘College Application and Exploration Week’

October 19, 2015

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The College Foundation of West Virginia (CFWV) is coordinating college preparation help at more than 400 sites across the state, with Governor Earl Ray Tomblin officially designating this week as “College Application and Exploration Week.”  Participating schools will host a variety of college-planning activities including college application workshops, classroom lessons focused on college awareness and planning, and panel discussions with current college students and employers.  Students of all ages — from pre-schoolers to adult learners — will learn about the importance of pursuing higher education and the different types of college options available including certificate programs, career and technical programs, two-year degree programs, four-year degree programs…

Continue Reading

Governor Tomblin declares ‘West Virginia GEAR UP Week’ in recognition of college readiness program

September 21, 2015

‘West Virginia GEAR UP’ helps thousands of students prepare for higher education programs and training CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has designated this week as “West Virginia GEAR UP Week” to recognize the impact and achievements of the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) effort. GEAR UP is a national grant program funded by the United States Department of Education. Its mission is to help students pursue and achieve some form of education and training beyond high school. This week has been declared “National GEAR UP Week” by program partners across the country. “GEAR UP…

Continue Reading

Statewide ‘College Day Tour’ kicks off September 1

September 1, 2015

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Representatives from West Virginia’s colleges and universities will hit the road today as part of West Virginia’s annual “College Day Tour.” During the tour, college admissions and planning counselors, along with military service representatives, will set up displays and host informational workshops in every region of the state. The West Virginia Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (WVACRAO) organizes the event and works to ensure that West Virginia’s high school students have an opportunity to get college planning information close to home. Additionally, representatives from the College Foundation of West Virginia (CFWV) attend every event to…

Continue Reading

New study shows federal GEAR UP program steering more West Virginians to college

August 7, 2015

Charleston, W.Va. – According to information presented today to the state’s Higher Education Policy Commission, the federal GEAR UP program is achieving its mission in West Virginia. The 2014 High School Senior Opinions Survey revealed that GEAR UP, which helps students in high-need West Virginia counties prepare for higher education, is successfully providing young West Virginians with the tools they need to attend – and succeed – in college. According to the survey conducted in spring 2014 among students at 45 schools, more than seven out of 10 seniors in GEAR UP high schools received direct assistance from college representatives,…

Continue Reading

Concord University recognized nationally for ‘GEAR UP’ partnership

July 21, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO, CA. – The National Council for Community and Education Partnerships (NCCEP) announced today that Concord University has been named the 2015 national “GEAR UP Community Partner of the Year.” Concord was recognized for its support of the West Virginia GEAR UP program, a federally funded grant program to help students from low-income areas prepare for college. West Virginia GEAR UP serves more than 5,000 students annually in 10 West Virginia counties. The project is coordinated by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (Commission), which received its second consecutive GEAR UP grant last year.  Dr. Marjie Flanigan, Vice President of Student Affairs at Concord…

Continue Reading

West Virginia ‘GEAR UP’ student named to national leadership academy

June 16, 2015

Kendyl Ryan is one of 29 selected from a nationwide pool of applicants CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Kendyl Ryan, a native of Boone County, has been selected to participate in the highly competitive “GEAR UP Alumni Leadership Academy,” (GUALA) a 12-month national leadership program providing students across the country with intensive training in civic engagement and community development. The GUALA program identifies students with exceptional leadership potential and provides additional training and tools to help them more effectively engage their peers, schools and communities in creating a college-going culture. Ms. Ryan, a sophomore at Marshall University, was one of 29 students…

Continue Reading

WOAY: OOHS Honors College Bound Seniors

May 19, 2015

OAK HILL– An area school is honoring college and service bound seniors. Oak Hill High School honored members of its senior class today during its college decision day ceremony– recognizing those who will either be continuing their education or will be entering the armed services. Oak Hill is one of 12 high schools across the state participating in the sports inspired campaign which is designed to praise those who are continuing their educations as well as encourage underclassmen to do the same. Read the full story »

Continue Reading

Point Pleasant Register: Wahama to host “College Decision Day”

May 18, 2015

MASON — A new event to celebrate graduating seniors pursuing post-secondary education will take center stage Thursday evening at Wahama High School. The school will conduct its first “College Decision Day” at 5 p.m., prior to the senior awards ceremony, according to Teresa Murphy, counselor. School staff, students and families will recognize each senior who plans to pursue some form of post-secondary education, whether it be certificate programs, workforce training and apprenticeship programs, two- or four-year degrees, or military service. Murphy said the event will encompass most of Wahama’s 69 graduating seniors, although a few have chosen directemployment. Each senior…

Continue Reading

‘College Decision Day’ events to celebrate college bound seniors across West Virginia

May 1, 2015

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Twelve West Virginia high schools will participate in West Virginia’s first statewide “College Decision Day” campaign to recognize high school seniors who plan to pursue some type of education or training beyond high school. College Decision Day is organized by the College Foundation of West Virginia (CFWV), an initiative coordinated by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission to help students go to college and succeed. “College Decision Day is inspired by sports events, such as the NCAA national signing day and the NFL draft,” Dr. Adam S. Green, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at the Commission, said. “We…

Continue Reading

Concord University to host “GEAR UP Kickoff” for area seventh graders on April 2

April 1, 2015

More than 450 seventh graders will have the opportunity to learn about life on a college campus during Concord University’s “GEAR UP” Kickoff event to be held April 2 from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. GEAR UP stands for “Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs.” The project, which is coordinated by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (Commission), helps students in ten West Virginia counties prepare to enter and succeed in higher education and skillset training programs. Students from Collins Middle School and Meadow Bridge High School in Fayette County; Montcalm High School in Mercer County; Gilbert…

Continue Reading

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…

Continue Reading

West Virginia awarded $21 million “GEAR UP” college-readiness grant

September 22, 2014

For immediate release: Monday, September 22, 2014 Contact: Jessica Kennedy, Assistant Director of Communications Division of Student Affairs West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (304) 558-0655 (office) (304) 532-0911 (cell) jkennedy@hepc.wvnet.edu NEWS RELEASE West Virginia awarded $21 million “GEAR UP” college-readiness grant CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Students in ten West Virginia counties will have extra help preparing for college and career training programs, thanks to a $21 million grant awarded to the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (Commission). The U.S. Department of Education announced today that the Commission will receive a “Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs” (GEAR…

Continue Reading

Governor Tomblin declares statewide “College Application and Exploration Week”

August 25, 2014

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has designated October 20 – 24 as “College Application and Exploration Week” in an effort to help students prepare for college. Schools across the state will participate by hosting a variety of hands-on activities including college application workshops, panel discussions with current college students and college scavenger hunts and trivia contests. During the week, students of all ages — from kindergarteners to adult learners — will learn about the importance of pursuing higher education and the different types of college options available including certificate programs, two-year degree programs and four-year degree programs. Students who…

Continue Reading

Students join forces to help others earn a college diploma

July 31, 2014

MORGANTOWN, W.VA. – Nearly 40 students completed the College Foundation of West Virginia (CFWV) Youth Summit held this week in Morgantown. The Youth Summit was part of West Virginia’s annual Student Success Summit, an event that brought together education administrators, teachers, students, military leaders and community group members to focus on collaborating to promote lifelong success for the State’s students. Tenth and 11th graders from Berkeley Springs, Elkins, John Marshall, Philip Barbour and Point Pleasant high schools participated in the Youth Summit, which offered a variety of workshops to develop their leadership skills. The Youth Summit focused on helping students…

Continue Reading

‘R U on Track for College?’ Texting a New Strategy

May 15, 2014

Article: Education Week As educators look for ways to keep high school seniors on track for college and to avoid the “summer melt” that leads some astray in the months after they graduate, a new strategy is gaining ground: texting. This year, West Virginia launched a pilot program that alerts students about deadlines for financial aid, registration, and student orientation, among other matters, with personalized messages on their mobile phones. The texting initiative targets students from low-income families—especially those set to become the first in their families to attend college. It begins in January of students’ senior year and continues…

Continue Reading

Summers County High School to celebrate college bound students during ‘College Decision Day’

May 9, 2014

HINTON, W.Va. – Summers County High School (SCHS) will recognize seniors who plan to enroll in some form of education or training beyond high school during the school’s first “College Decision Day” event to be held May 19. “College Decision Day is inspired by sports events, such as the NCAA national signing day and the NFL draft,” Kari Vicars, vice principal at SCHS said. “We want to make sure we showcase the academic excellence of our students with the same enthusiasm and pride as we devote to sports.” College Decision Day is coordinated through West Virginia’s “Gaining Early Awareness and…

Continue Reading

‘GEAR UP’ students recognized during sixth annual Governor’s Honors Symposium

April 5, 2014

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission recognized the academic achievements of more than 200 GEAR UP students at the sixth annual Governor’s Honors Symposium, held April 5 at the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences. GEAR UP, which stands for “Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs,” is a college preparation initiative providing services to students in ten West Virginia counties. The Symposium highlighted the accomplishments of the program’s 12th-grade students, many of whom have participated in GEAR UP since the seventh grade. During the Symposium, a representative from Governor Earl Ray Tomblin’s office…

Continue Reading

Governor Tomblin declares statewide “College Application and Exploration Week”

October 14, 2013

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has designated this week as “College Application and Exploration Week” in an effort to help students prepare for college. Nearly 150 schools across the state will participate by hosting a variety of hands-on college planning activities including college application workshops, panel discussions with current college students, and college scavenger hunts and trivia contests. Students of all ages – from kindergarteners to adult learners – will learn about the importance of pursuing higher education and the different types of college options available including certificate programs, two-year degree programs, and four-year degree programs. Students who…

Continue Reading