New Fairmont State University President Dr. Mirta Martin.

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Education, a key component to West Virginia’s industry, must remain two things in order to be effective — affordable and accessible.

That’s the belief of Fairmont State University’s President, still in her first year on the job.

“My hope is that we will be able to continue to provide the citizens of W.Va. with an afforadable and an accessible education and that we are able to meet the needs of industry so that we are able to attract industry to our state and repay our state and some of our population here,” said Dr. Mirta Martin on WAJR’s Morgantown AM.

Following a discussion on the Higher Education Blue Ribbon Commission, it was stated that the price of tuition around the state continues to increase, making higher education more of a burden than a blessing. Martin said that when it comes to budget cuts, education is always a target.

“I think that part of the life of higher education is the national trend of cutting higher education,” she said. “It’s not just something that happens in West Virginia, it’s something that’s happening throughout our nation.”

By 2025, more than 50 percent of jobs in the world will require a four year degree, Martin said. She did qualify that by stating that trades people are also a necessity in order to keep W.Va. running smoothly.

Martin also stated that in countries like China and India, five to 10 percent of their gross domestic product is allocated to education.

“There will be a superpower in the United States,” she said. “But unless our country, unless our legislature begins to put its focus back on education, it will not be the case. We are the greateast nation in the world. We need to educate our people so that we can to continue to lead in an ethical matter with integrity.”

Martin believes that it is important to “be true to who you are.” And, when choosing a career path, follow your heart because if you follow your heart, the money will come.

“There is a difference between a career and a job,” she said. “A job is something that you do day in and day out. A career is something that inspires you, that makes you wake up every morning and say ‘this is where I belong.'”

Fairmont State University, along with many other universities around the state, offers students different tools and services to help them decide which career they’re most interested in, Martin Said.

“Pack that with assessment mechanisms that most of the universities have, then it will guide you to that path, to that career, to that major that’s going to then guide you to where you want to be,” Martin said.

Story by Hannah Williams

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