December 22, 2022
West Virginia Education
Enrollment in West Virginia’s four-year universities, community colleges and technical colleges remained relatively steady for the fall 2022 semester compared to the previous year, according to a recent assessment from the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission.
Enrollment at the state’s public four-year institutions declined slightly in fall 2022 compared to fall 2021, dropping from 57,102 students in 2021 to 56,303 in 2022 – a 1.4% decline. At the state’s community and technical colleges, enrollment rose from 15,555 in 2021 to 15,770 in 2022.
First-time freshman enrollment increased across all systems, representing “the first new freshmen enrollment increase at baccalaureate institutions in several years,” the commission wrote in a news release.
Over the last decade, the percentage of college-going high school graduates in West Virginia has continued to trend downward, dropping from 53.3% in 2012 to 45.9% in 2021. Officials are stressing, however, that dual enrollment among high school students could help reverse that trend.
The number of high school students taking dual enrollment courses rose across the board this year, resulting in more than 900 additional students participating in dual enrollment in 2022 compared to 2021.
“Nearly 67% of students in the class of 2021 who took dual enrollment courses went to a community college or a four-year institution after graduation, while only 23 percent of students who didn’t take any college-level courses in high school continued on,” West Virginia Chancellor of Higher Education Sarah Armstrong Tucker said in a statement. “We know that the availability of dual enrollment courses for our students plays a significant role in their decision to continue education or training and in their overall success.”
Tucker noted the average annual salary of a high school graduate with just a diploma is around $20,000 a year, adding that the state “must find a way to make college-level courses more accessible to all students.”
According to an assessment from Learner, West Virginia spends roughly $25,400 per student for education, but not all of that funding is spent on K-12 education. The majority of West Virginia’s education spending is on post-secondary education, resulting in $11,757 spent per student for K-12 education.