Issues: Higher Education

One of the greatest opportunities facing our congressional district is the growth and potential further expansion of our higher education institutions and their offerings.

We’ve done an outstanding job at the State Legislature in promoting our colleges and universities. When I went to the statehouse, less than $3 million annually was available for higher education grants. Today, we offer $85 million in financial assistance each year to students, and we should always look for ways to make the figure grow. Education is the key to our future.

Business and economy analysts have said that an ideal scenario would be for 60 percent of our U.S. population to have higher education degrees. According to census data, 55 percent of the nation has some college experience and 27.5 percent have achieved at least a bachelor’s degree. In West Virginia, 17.3 percent of our population has a college degree.

We need to improve that mark, and through the work we’ve done at the Legislature the public colleges and universities in our district – West Virginia University, Fairmont State, Potomac State, Glenville State, Salem, WVU-Parkersburg, West Liberty and Northern Community College – have expanded their offerings and, in most cases, grown.