The change West Virginia is going through is visible to us in the higher education community. We are seeing our economy transitioning to new industries while still leveraging our energy strengths. We are seeing the opportunities we have in tourism and technology related fields. We are seeing a growing demand for quality, accessible, and affordable health care. And we are seeing a renewed focus on how our citizens learn and obtain their education.
West Virginia’s elected officials and thought leaders are navigating the challenges and opportunities we currently face. As we witness the beginning stages of change one thing is clear, West Virginia needs more thinkers, creators, skilled leaders, and home-grown entrepreneurs to build a strong future. To that end, West Virginia Independent Colleges & Universities (WVICU) and our member institutions will be there to offer our perspectives and solutions for a brighter future in West Virginia. This past year we have made a concerted effort to be more visible, more vocal, and more driven to increase our accomplishments and contributions to this great state. We fervently believe our colleges and universities not only drive positive results, but do so more effectively, in many instances, than our friends in the public sector. Consider the following:
We SERVE: On average, roughly 40% of our eight institutions’ students are low income. The state’s public institutions’ averages are the same. Our institutions are in nearly every geographic area of the state and have a $350 million annual economic impact.
We BELONG: The state’s policies for the past several years have been aimed to help public institutions, but policy makers are beginning to realize the significant contributions private universities make. We will be a bigger part of that conversation moving forward.
We ACHIEVE: Our institutions have a 18% higher four-year graduation rate and a 12% higher six-year graduation rate than public institutions. Upon graduation private university students graduate ten months sooner and earn roughly $4,000 per year more than public university students.
On behalf of the eight member-institutions and our board of directors thank you for supporting WVICU. Please continue to partner with us as we increase our voice and our impact while remaining focused on quality results – results that help put West Virginia on a better path forward.
DR. J. TIM BARRY
President - Alderson Broaddus University