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DegreeNow!: Adult Completion Initiative

DegreeNow: Eastern and WVU Offer Extended Learning Opportunities

In addition to being a state that shelters an aging population, West Virginia suffers from low numbers of citizens who have completed a college or technical degree. And unfortunately, educators project that without guided involvement, the numbers of those who start college or technical school after high school but do not finish, are likely — for one reason or another — to rise.

So, for adult students who wish to complete college-level learning and/or technical training — and with a goal of preparing a more highly trained West Virginian citizenry to meet our workforce and civic needs and compete in the 21st-century job market with advanced and hands-on skills — educators are reaching out with an integrated, statewide program: DegreeNow.

And while educators believe that all West Virginians should strengthen their job-market skills with college and technical training, DegreeNow focuses first on adults (over 25) who meet the following three qualifications:

  • They have completed some college since 1995
  • But have not yet earned a degree
  • And have not been enrolled for at least three years. 

DegreeNow will allow the benefits of three already existing and separate programs to mesh together, build on each other, and work as one:

Together, these components will provide a unique and unified opportunity for adults to:

  • earn an associate or bachelor degree previously started
  • facilitate progress for those who complete an associate degree
  • work towards earning a bachelor’s degree.

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According to state data there are 126,997 potential degree completers who meet these criteria. Of these:

  • 45% have earned less than 30 credits
  • 25% have earned 30-59 credits
  • 22% have earned 60-89 credits
  • 22% have earned 90-119 credits.

Undergirding these efforts is a commitment to improve adult-focused student and academic services. By 2013 our goal is to have helped 3,000 adults complete an associate’s degree and 4,600 adults complete a bachelor’s degree. Each year thereafter, the goal is to help an additional 2,500 adults complete a credential.

The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, in partnership with the West Virginia Community and Technical College System and NASPA-Student Affairs in Higher Education, is putting together a collaborative effort to create DegreeNow with support from the Lumina Foundation for Education.

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