NEW RICHMOND - The West Virginia Higher Education Commission launched a pilot program that offers college preparatory assistance through text message counseling.
Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and Dr. Paul Hill, chancellor of the Higher Education Policy Commission, announced West Virginia students at 14 high schools are participating in this program. The Commission launched the program through a $225,000 grant, awarded by the Kresge Foundation.
Admissions personnel at Bluefield State College, Concord University, Marshall University and Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College are involved with the texting support, as well as the high school counselors.
Wyoming East High School is one of one of the schools participating in this project. Senior Joseph Lupardus believes the pilot program will make it simpler for students to receive information about colleges. "I think it would be a lot easier because everyone texts so it would just be pretty convenient for everyone," he said.
Barry Smith, principal of Wyoming East High School, said the program gives students more control in their educational process. "I think when they buy into it that way, they're more serious about it and I think they will get their parents more involved with it also," Smith explained.
Wyoming County Superintendent Frank Blackwell said the texting pilot program might even encourage more students to go to college. "Anything we can do to get more kids in West Virginia in our colleges and any post-graduate institution, that benefits all of us -- that benefits West Virginia and of course it benefits our kids."
Lupardus said the program makes counselors more accessible. "You could directly ask a college counselor if you had a question about anything like the attendance rates and the teacher-to-student ratio," he said. "I think it would be helpful to gather information that way."
Students who sign up to receive the text messages can opt-out at any time. For more information about the project, click here
The following high schools are participating in the 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