CHARLESTON, W.Va. -Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and Dr. Paul Hill, Chancellor of the Higher Education Policy Commission (Commission), today announced West Virginia students will have a new way to receive help preparing for college. Through a $225,000 grant, awarded by the Kresge Foundation, the Commission is launching a pilot program that offers counseling and college-readiness support to students at 14 high schools via text message.
"As we work to prepare students for the 21st century economy, it only makes sense to include the use of today's technology in our communications and support efforts," Gov. Tomblin said. "This pilot project, developed by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, holds much promise as it has the potential to offer students more personalized support and increased access to services which can help them succeed."
Dr. Paul Hill, the Commission's Chancellor, said the project offers an opportunity to keep pace with students, who increasingly rely on digital and mobile connectedness in their daily lives.
"This is an exciting opportunity for West Virginia. As we really sharpen our focus on both encouraging high school students to attend college and supporting them until they walk across the stage to a degree, we have to be nimble and innovative," Chancellor Hill said. "That's exactly what this project is - and I believe we'll see some terrific outcomes."
Starting this fall, high school seniors attending one of the 14 participating high schools can opt-in to receive college-planning text messages. As part of this pilot project, students may also communicate via text message with their high school counselor, or a college admissions or financial aid representative associated with four participating colleges-Bluefield State College, Concord University, Marshall University and Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College. Standard message rates apply. Students who sign up to receive the messages can opt-out at any time.
"We're excited to build on the body of research about how to use new technologies to provide student support and counseling," said Caroline Altman Smith, Senior Program Officer at the Kresge Foundation. "Students are already using their phones to text constantly. This project will use texts to provide students with personalized information and support, and we're hopeful it will increase college-going and help students persist in their first year of college."
The following high schools are participating in this pilot program:
• Clay County High School
• Lincoln County High School
• Mingo Central Comprehensive High School
• Mount View High School
• River View High School
• Roane County High School
• Scott High School
• Sherman High School
• Summers County High School
• Tug Valley High School
• Webster County High School
• Westside High School
• Wirt County High School
• Wyoming County East High School.
For more information about the project, visit: http://www.cfwvconnect.com/text-messaging-intervention
The Kresge Foundation is a $3.2 billion private foundation that seeks to influence the quality of life for future generations through its support of nonprofit organizations working in seven program areas: Arts and Culture, Community Development, Detroit, Education, the Environment, Health, and Human Services. Fostering greater access to and success in postsecondary education for low-income, minority and first-generation college students is the focus of Kresge's Education grant making. In 2012, Kresge awarded more than $22 million in grants to support higher education in the United States and South Africa, with half benefiting U.S. community colleges.
Amy Shuler Goodwin or Jessica Tice
304-558-4977 or 304-558-0699