CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State Higher Education Chancellor Dr. Sarah Armstrong Tucker is applauding the state Legislature for passing a bill during this year’s 60-day session that will help high school students pay for dual enrollment courses.
HB 2005, which currently awaits Gov. Jim Justice’s signature, would establish a four-year pilot program for high school students to take dual credit college courses where they receive credit at both their high school and the higher education institution.
Tucker said students taking the most dual enrollment courses come from families that can afford it, leaving students from low income families in the dark.
“This bill gives those students the opportunity to be successful in college classes, to get some courses under their belt at a significantly reduced cost and it will lessen the time that it takes for them to earn a college degree,” she said.
Having the governor sign the bill into law could double the college-going rate, Tucker said.
“The current college-going rate is about 46 percent, so we really want to see that number increase dramatically,” she said. “When other states have implemented dual enrollment programs like this, what they have found is the college-going rate for low-income students more than doubles.”
The bill allows the Legislature to appropriate money to the Higher Education Policy Commission and the Council for Community & Technical College Education to directly pay the higher education institution for the tuition and fees incurred by the students for those courses.
West Virginia’s program would cost around $4.2 million in the first year and around $5.8 million in future years, Tucker said.
“We’ve budget for just over 10,000 students to take two dual enrollment courses per year,” she said.
Tucker said the bill could also close huge workforce gaps in the state. She said more opportunities for high school students leads to more successful outcomes.
“We want to make sure that our students who are not thinking about college or who don’t necessarily believe that they have the ability to go to college, are thrown a lifeline while they are still in high school to show them that, yes, they too can be successful.” she said.
Tucker said she expects Gov. Justice to sign HB 2005 on Tuesday.