The Times West Virginian


November 15, 2012

Building solid relationships and programs helps keep FSU, Pierpont strong

High school graduates have plenty of opportunities when it comes to deciding what to do once their diploma is in hand.

They could jump right into the workforce, whether part time or full time.

They could serve their country by enlisting with one of the branches of the U.S. military.

Or they could join the more than 67,000 other students who are enrolled in one of West Virginia’s four-year public colleges and universities.

Information released Wednesday by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission shows that the state’s four-year public colleges and universities have a total of 67,589 students enrolled. And while the system experienced a slight overall decline from last fall to this fall — 1.1 percent — there was a five-year increase from fall 2008 to fall 2012 of 2.4 percent, or 1,613 students.

Of course, it’s not just recent high school graduates filling the seats of the state’s colleges and universities. Nontraditional students — including those who might be older than recent high school graduates, single parents, someone juggling a couple of jobs or even soldiers returning from overseas — are also heading back to the classroom to gain vital knowledge and skills to be put to use in a new career.

At Fairmont State University and Pierpont Community & Technical College, officials have reported steady enrollment rates for both institutions.

At Fairmont State, full-time equivalents for graduate stu­dents, first-time freshmen and transfer students are steady com­pared to last year. In addition, the percentage of students from Harrison, Marion and Monongalia counties is steady.

But the news gets better. The number of out-of-state and international students attending Fairmont State has risen by 25 percent. That’s thanks in part to partnerships the university has formed with international institu­tions, including three in South Korea.

“With the declining number of high school graduates within the state of West Virginia, we know it’s going to be very important for us to look at out-of-state stu­dents and international students,” Rose said. “We want to work on building those relationships and getting more students here. That’s very important.”

At Pierpont, President Dr. Doreen Larson said the headcount for this fall is 2,925 students, a decrease of about 3.5 percent from last year.

But Pierpont is seeing an increase in students who are reaching graduation — the college had 65 more students complete their degrees than it did in the 2010-11 school year. That increase should result in more state funding opportunities.

In addition, Larson said Pierpont recently launched a variety of programs tied to industry. Several have been filled to their maximum capacity.

“These programs all have internships with the companies, so they work as part of their program for the company and have the potential to get hired right into the company when they’re done,” Larson said.

The number of students in noncredit programs, such as the medical coding and billing program, shouldn’t be forgotten, and the college will continue to expand with the Advanced Technology Center, which will offer the opportunity for increased enrollment rates.

Of course, steady or increasing enrollment rates depend on the affordability of education.

The Higher Education Policy Commission says enrollment in higher education increases during difficult economic times and levels out when the economy improves. So even though enrollment in West Virginia peaked in fall 2010 during the economic downturn, Dr. Paul L. Hill, chancellor of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, pointed out that the five-year overall increase shows moderate growth in the number of people pursuing higher education in West Virginia.

Plus, Hill said the state is one of few states to invest equally in need-based and merit-based financial aid through the West Virginia Higher Education Grant Program and the PROMISE Scholarship Program.

“These significant investments by the state of West Virginia have kept the dream of a college education accessible and affordable for all West Virginians, especially first-generation, low-income students,” he said.

Increased enrollment rates and affordable education go hand in hand, and the dream of an affordable college education is one that will keep the seats of colleges and universities filled.

Luckily, that dream is within reach in West Virginia.

Text Only
  • Prevention must remain focus when dealing with cruel black lung disease

    “Preventable, but not curable.”
    That’s how Joe Main, assistant secretary of labor for Mine Safety and Health, describes black lung disease.
    He could also use the word “deadly.”
    According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, black lung has killed more than 76,000 miners since 1968.

    August 1, 2014

  • If something seems too good to be true, then assume that it is

    Scam. noun. A confidence game or other fraudulent scheme, especially for making a quick profit; swindle.
    This is a word that Marion Countians have heard a lot about in the past few years. And the problem appears to be one that is getting worse every day.

    July 31, 2014

  • State must convince parents, schools about benefits of Common Core

    It’s always nice to have a little bit of background information before diving into something new.
    So we have to agree with West Virginia Board of Education president Gayle Manchin when she says the state should have done a better job of explaining Common Core standards when they were first introduced.
    Those standards, part of a national educational initiative that sets learning goals designed to prepare students in kindergarten through 12th grade for college and career, will be fully implemented in every West Virginia school district next month.

    July 30, 2014

  • Time is now for Tomblin to support King Coal Highway

    U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., is asking Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to add the King Coal Highway project to West Virginia’s six-year highway improvement plan. It is a logical request, and one that Tomblin should act promptly on.

    July 29, 2014

  • United effort to keep NASA in Fairmont is essential project

    The high-technology sector is obviously vital to the economy of North Central West Virginia.
    That’s why a strong, united effort to keep the NASA Independent Verification and Validation Program in Fairmont is absolutely essential.

    July 27, 2014

  • COLUMN: Calling all readers: Be heard

    I love to talk to readers.
    I love to hear concerns they have about stories we’ve written, things they think should be included in the newspaper and things they think shouldn’t be.

    July 27, 2014

  • Korean War veterans are deserving of a memorial

    NEEDED: A total of $10,000 for the Korean War Memorial this year.
    And a good man has been placed in charge of the funding. Charlie Reese, former president of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, is now director of the Marion County Development Office. His task was to make a recommendation as to what steps are necessary to keep the project moving.

    July 25, 2014

  • Roll up your sleeves, give blood and you can save lives

    It takes up to 100 units of blood to save the life of someone who sustains life-threatening injuries in a vehicle accident.
    We’re hoping that the number of people who come to Fairmont Senior High School on Friday for and American Red Cross blood drive will exceed that amount.

    July 24, 2014

  • Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely

    The days are long. The weather is superb. There’s plenty of leisure time in these lazy days of summer.
    It’s the perfect time to take a long motorcycle ride.
    It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to take the time to remind not only riders but drivers of the need to share the road. And we feel compelled to mention it because just within the month of July, there have been two motorcycle-versus-car accidents within the City of Fairmont alone — one with severe injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the other with less serious injury.

    July 23, 2014

  • Too many taking too few steps to protect selves from skin cancer

    July 22, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Politics
House Ads