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Ensuring Students Earn Their Degrees

More than one in five students entering West Virginia University as freshmen do not make it to sophomore status. More than two in five do not obtain degrees within six years — yes, the bachelor’s degrees many people still manage to earn in four years.

And those rates are among the best for any college or university in the Mountain State.

WVU officials plan to hire a new associate provost to focus on student success and retention. That person will work with students at the main campus in Morgantown, at West Virginia University Institute of Technology in Beckley and at Potomac State College in Keyser.

This is not the first initiative aimed at keeping students at WVU until they obtain degrees. There have been others, but clearly, they have not achieved the hoped-for results.

A new approach is needed, and the state university should provide its new associate provost with the resources to implement it. Perhaps some facets of existing student retention and success strategy have proved valuable enough to be retained — but they have not been adequate.

West Virginia has among the lowest education attainment levels in the nation. We need more young people who go to — and graduate from — our colleges and universities. WVU’s new campaign to make that happen ought to be viewed as one of the university’s top priorities.

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