Pierpont President hopeful tuition-free bill survives House of Delegates | Pierpont C&TC

Pierpont President hopeful tuition-free bill survives House of Delegates

Pierpont President hopeful tuition-free bill survives House of Delegates

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Pierpont President hopeful tuition-free bill survives House of Delegates
 
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Tuition-free community college is again under consideration at the state Capitol.
 
In a bill recently passed by the State Senate, West Virginia high school graduates of any age would be eligible to take advantage of free tuition at any of the Mountain State’s nine technical and community colleges.
 
S.B. 1, which passed the State Senate 34-0 Jan. 23, has been introduced to the House Education Committee.
 
The bill states that the tuition would be free for those seeking certificates or associates degrees that “sastify a workforce need determined by the Department of Commerce.” Most educators and legislators support the bill, with Pierpont Community and Technical College President Dr. Johnny Moore seeing massive potential.
 
“I think it’s very, very important that our nine state technical and community colleges must be seen as a hub for West Virginia’s growth,” Moore said Thursday on WAJR’s “Talk of the Town” with Dave Wilson and Sarah Giosi. “I believe the vision of West Virginia’s future needs to recognize how fundamental community colleges are to the state’s social and econmoic mobility.”
 
There will be numerous criteria that would need to be met in order to take advantage of the opportunity if the bill passes through the House of Delegates. Along with the prerequisite of needing to be admitted into a Department of Comemrce approved program, applicants must complete drug tests before each semester, complete at least eight hours of community service, and must work in West Virginia for at least two years after graduating.
 
Moore believes students would see a quick turnaround after graduation.
 
“They typically graduate on Friday and go to work on the following Monday making $65,000 to $70,000 a year,” Moore said.
 
He added: “They have zero student debt.”
 
Despite the mass approval of the bill’s goals, there was some debate on some aspects of the bill. Some opponents feared it would take prospective students away from West Virginia’s four-year institutions.
 
Dr. Moore said community colleges are uniquely positioned to benefit from the bill and benefit the state.
 
“It takes folks in, regardless of where they are, and mold them and shape them into becoming practically anything they aspire to become,” Moore said.
 
Moore is hopeful that, this time, S.B. 1 will find advocates in the House of Delegates after a similar bill died their last year.
 
“Comprehensive community and technical colleges is that vehicle that we already have in our state and we need to make sure that we’re providing, not just Pierpont, but community and technical colleges in our state with the appropriate resources to help change the dynamic of our state,” he said.
 
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