(06/12/2012)
In addition to the state's public school system being near the bottom with student achievement, state colleges and universities have a big hill to climb to improve graduation rates.

The state is among the worst in the nation in producing collegfe graduates.

"The state is mandating fewer credit hours for particular degrees. They're limiting two year associate degrees to 60 and four year degrees to 120 credit hours," says VP of Student Services for WVU-P, Anthony Underwood.

More diplomas in the mountain state is a top priority for education officials.

"College success is absolutely vital for West Virginia going forward. We need to graduate 20,000 more people than we do right now just to stay even in terms of economic development," said Underwood.

Right now, out of every 100 students enrolled in the ninth grade in West Virginia, only 17 will earn a two or four year degree within ten years. That means there's an average of 83 of 100 students that don't have college degrees.

To improve the grad rates, the task force is looking into shortening the time it takes to graduate. One reason for college dropouts could the difficulty of switching schools.

"Sometimes when they transfer, they lose some of their credits. At WVU-P, because we are the only community college in the states that are allowed to offer four year programs, many of our two year programs fold directly into four year programs. So the students are guaranteed to not lose any of their study time," said Underwood.

See related stories WV COLLEGE'S MUST IMPROVE GRADUATION RATE - State Near Bottom In National Statistics

WV FAILS TO REACH COLLEGE GRADUATION RATES

STATE COLLEGE ENROLLMENT AT RECORD HIGH - WV At Bottom In Graduation Rates


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