MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Kindergarten teachers to college presidents are attending the fourth annual Student Success Summit taking place in Morgantown Wednesday and Thursday with the goal of creating a “more seamless, life-long education system.”
Higher education officials like Dr. Adam Green, a vice chancellor with the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, see the numbers. He said only 18 of every 100 9th graders in West Virginia actually finish college in six years. He said there are 70,000 state residents that have some kind of college training that never finished their degrees. Green said the numbers mean something now and in the future.
“By 2020, 51 percent of the jobs in the state are going to require some sort of education and training beyond high school and sadly, right now, only 28 percent of West Virginians have some sort of those credentials,” Green said. “Coming together and tackling this holistically is really what we’re trying to do.”
The summit, which is taking place at the Waterfront Hotel and Conference Center in Morgantown, also involves students from six high schools who are focusing on building and strengthening a college-going culture in their communities.
John Marshall High School student Tyler Keller said it’s time for students to step up.
“If we can make school an interesting place for our friends and peers, if we can get our friends motivated, if we can make school the cool thing again, I believe those numbers would definitely rise,” Keller said.
Riana Bobes of Elkins High said there seems to be more momentum in her community toward finishing high school rather than going to college.
“A bunch of people I know still want to go to college but the hardest part is still the financial issue for a lot of them,” Bobes said.
The HEPC said a lot of positive things have already come out of the previous Success Summits including the College Foundation of West Virginia website.