Introduced Version House Concurrent Resolution 118 History

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(By Delegate Paxton)




Requesting the Joint Committee on Government and Finance engage in a study of the four-year, regional institutions of the West Virginia Higher Education System, reviewing their policies and procedures and those of the Higher Education Policy Commission, investigating their academic missions and the modes as to their access and delivery to students, and identifying obstacles impeding the effective growth of these schools and on the economy of West Virginia.

    Whereas, West Virginia maintains ten regional, public, four-year college and university campuses across the state (not including West Virginia University and Marshall University) that serve approximately 25,000 students; and

    Whereas, The economic engine of the state is driven by a higher education system that as measured in 2008 accounted for approximately $8 billion in business volume to the state, over 40,000 jobs, and produces the backbone of a modern society by graduating among many disciplines future educators, healthcare providers, military, law enforcement, engineering and government sector professionals; and

    Whereas, The recent downturn in the American and global economies has forced states to accelerate reductions in budget allocations that support higher educational institutions, thereby causing an accelerated increase in tuition rates for students, and in West Virginia that rate has increased by an average of 22% for in-state students alone in the past five years; and

    Whereas, The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission reported that only 59% of West Virginia high school graduates attended college in 2010, a figure five percentage points below the national average; and

    Whereas, Of those graduates who attend a four-year college, only 48.5% complete their degrees within six years, where the national average is 57.3%; and

    Whereas, There also exists a problem in the accounting of graduate credits among West Virginia colleges and universities when a student transfers between West Virginia higher education institutions, thus this policy should be reevaluated; and

    Whereas, West Virginia public officials have expressed concerns that the low numbers of four-year West Virginia college graduates with 21st century skills deter prospective businesses from locating in our state and as a result our economy does not expand; and

    Whereas, Raised college admission standards may improve student retention, a review of those standards may uncover bridges to admission for prospective college students who fall just short of meeting those entrance requirements but who yearn for a college degree; and

    Whereas, Continuous advances in technology change the landscape of education, allowing greater student accessibility and time flexibility, such as online courses, and a common technological platform among all West Virginia colleges and universities would allow for uniform educational experiences across the state and reduce the competitive impact of larger schools on smaller, undercapitalized yet no less vital institutions that serve our citizens and communities; and

    Whereas, West Virginia Institute of Technology enjoys a long and vital history of producing outstanding engineers and visionary leaders for West Virginia, a goal of continuing the educational excellence provided by this school is deemed a necessity for the economic fortunes of our state; and

    Whereas, The promise of the Community and Technical College System will not be realized without effective linkages to four-year regional colleges in order for their students to have full access to obtain advanced degrees that meet the job market demands of the 21st century; and

    Whereas, College recruitment advertising has significantly increased among West Virginia colleges and universities, and it is questioned whether spending such sums results in adverse competition for in-state students and spending dollars against ourselves within the Higher Education Policy Commission structure; and

    Whereas, West Virginians deserve a four-year college system that is aligned with 21st century training and knowledge to meet the quickening pace of the global marketplace and global competition for jobs in vital sectors such as technology, energy, finance, healthcare, communications, education, military and the sciences; therefore, be it

    Resolved by the Legislature of West Virginia:

    That the Joint Committee on Government and Finance is hereby requested to study issues surrounding the educational, economic, technological, social and other related issues surrounding services provided by the regional, four-year West Virginia colleges and universities and their missions to further educational and professional opportunities and materially contribute to all citizens within the state; and, be it

    Further Resolved, That the Joint Committee on Government and Finance report to the regular session of the Legislature, 2013, on its findings, conclusions and recommendations, together with drafts of any legislation necessary to effectuate its recommendations; and, be it

    Further Resolved, That the expenses necessary to conduct this study, to prepare a report and to draft necessary legislation be paid from legislative appropriations to the Joint Committee on Government and Finance.

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