Accredited Degree Programs, Scholarships and Resources for Top Schools
The state of West Virginia has major higher education aspirations for its residents over the next decade; the goal of the new West Virginia Climb initiative's is to help 60 percent of the workforce hold a college certificate or degree by the year 2030. In order to do so, the state’s colleges and universities have committed to offering greater access to educational opportunities. One way to facilitate this is through online education. West Virginia students have 45 degree-granting institutions in the state to choose from, several of which offer online learning options. Read on for more information on how online college works, find answers on common online tuition and transfer credit questions and learn what makes the best online colleges in West Virginia stand out from the pack.
Best Online Colleges in West Virginia 2020
Many online schools and colleges in West Virginia offer excellent educational options at affordable costs. According to CollegeCalc, West Virginia had the 17th most affordable tuition rates for the 2017-2018 academic year. Distance education programs often provide flexible scheduling options, and many distance learners work full time while earning their degree.
This guide explores college options in West Virginia and covers tuition costs, salary potential by degree level, and the importance of accreditation. The following sections also include links to scholarships, grants, and free online resources for college students.
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How Can I Find Which Online Colleges Offer the Degree I'm Looking for in West Virginia?
West Virginia institutions offer a variety of online programs. Prospective students should research options to find a program that suits their needs. Learners can find information about West Virginia universities on the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission website. They can also click the icon for details about accredited online schools and colleges in West Virginia.
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How Much More Do College Grads in West Virginia Make?
While no degree guarantees a particular salary, degree-holders tend to earn more than those with less education. According to data from PayScale, professionals with a bachelor's degree from West Virginia's top universities earn median early career salaries of $77,000 to $100,000.
The table below features the median annual salaries of U.S. professionals by degree level. Throughout the nation, higher levels of educational attainment correlate with higher earning potential.
Annual Full-Time Wage and Salary by Educational Attainment in the U.S.
|LESS THAN A HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA||HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA||ASSOCIATE DEGREE|
|BACHELOR'S DEGREE||MASTER'S DEGREE||DOCTORAL DEGREE|
Paying for Online College in West Virginia: Tuition and Financial Aid
The tables below compare West Virginia tuition rates to the national averages. As the data shows, the average tuition rates for both in-state and out-of-state learners at West Virginia institutions fall well below the national averages.
Even with affordable tuition rates, students should consider options for funding their education. Many learners pursue financial aid, loans, and scholarships. The following sections explore cost considerations for online learners and methods for financing a college education.
Average Undergraduate Tuition and Fees: Public Colleges and Universities
|IN-STATE TUITION||OUT-OF-STATE TUITION||NATIONAL AVERAGE|
Average Undergraduate Tuition and Fees: Private Colleges and Universities
|TUITION||OUT-OF-STATE TUITION||NATIONAL AVERAGE|
Cost Considerations for Online Students in West Virginia
The figures above only include the cost of tuition and fees. However, students should factor in other costs when creating their college budget. Below are common fees and expenses for students attending online schools and colleges in West Virginia.
- Evening/Weekend/Summer Classes: Some Schools charge higher tuition rates for evening, summer, or weekend classes. Students should contact their school to determine the rate for each course they plan to take.
- Program-Specific Tuition: Some universities charge higher tuition rates for more popular degree programs. Additionally, some programs require extra fees.
- Flat Online Fee: Distance learners sometimes pay a one-time fee, which is typically due at the time of the first tuition installment.
- Required Travel: Some online degree programs require students to travel to take exams, complete internships, or visit campus. Students should budget for travel costs each year.
- Textbook and Resources: Online learners should budget for physical or digital textbooks, supplies, and additional learning materials.
Qualifying for In-State Tuition in West Virginia
Typically, to qualify for in-state tuition rates, students must prove that they have lived in West Virginia for a certain amount of time. However, some schools charge all online learners in-state or discounted tuition rates, regardless of residency. Students should contact their school's financial aid office for details about tuition rates.
Out-of-state learners can qualify for lower tuition rates through reciprocity agreements. West Virginia participates in the Academic Common Market, a reciprocity agreement between southern states. This agreement provides reduced tuition rates for learners who reside in a participating state and attend a West Virginia school.
Paying for College in West Virginia: Scholarships and Financial Aid
Students attending online schools and colleges in West Virginia can qualify for various financial aid opportunities. Learners can reduce their student debt by applying for scholarships and grants, which do not require repayment. The list below includes scholarships and grants available to West Virginia students.
Scholarships for West Virginia College Students
Grants for West Virginia College Students
The Importance of Accreditation for Online Colleges and Universities in West Virginia
Accreditation demonstrates that a school meets high educational standards. The U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) oversee accrediting agencies in the U.S. and ensure that the evaluation process is fair and accurate.
Students should verify their school's accreditation status before applying. Certain types of financial aid are only available to learners at accredited schools, and many employers and graduate schools only recognize degrees earned from accredited institutions. The sections below explore various types of accreditation for online schools and colleges in West Virginia.
Regional and National Accreditation
The two main types of institutional accreditation in the U.S. are regional and national accreditation. National accrediting agencies typically evaluate vocational schools and technical colleges.
Regional accreditation, the more prestigious form, generally applies to public and private degree-granting institutions. Six accrediting agencies award regional accreditation based on geographic location. The Higher Learning Commission confers regional accreditation to West Virginia schools.
While regional and national accreditation apply to entire institutions, subject-specific accrediting agencies evaluate individual degree programs. These accrediting bodies ensure that programs prepare learners to succeed in the field, and individuals in some industries need a degree from an accredited program to qualify for licensure. Students can learn about programmatic accrediting agencies and accredited programs through the Department of Education database and the CHEA directory.
How to Know if Your School or Program is Accredited
To ensure that they receive a high-quality education, students should only consider accredited schools. Most accredited institutions display their accreditation status on their official website and note programmatic accreditation on each degree program's page. Learners can identify or verify the accreditation status of any U.S. school using the Department of Education database or the CHEA directory.
Online College and Adult Education in West Virginia
Online schools and colleges in West Virginia deliver flexible programs that are often ideal for adult learners. Additionally, the state offers programs to help residents gain basic skills and career training. The sections below include facts and resources related to adult education in West Virginia.
By the Numbers: Adult Education in West Virginia
|Nearly 42% of West Virginia college students enrolled exclusively in online courses in 2015.||About 82% of exclusively online learners in West Virginia lived out of state in 2015.||Nearly 55% of all West Virginia college students took at least one online class in 2015.|
Adult Education Programs for West Virginia Students
- WV Adult Education: The West Virginia Department of Education offers resources for adult learners, including GED classes, digital literacy courses, and distance education classes. Students can choose from in-person and online options.
- West Virginia Adult Education: This website helps adult students with distance education options, career development opportunities, and English as a second language classes.
Online College Resources for West Virginia Students
Learners applying to online schools and colleges in West Virginia can use online resources to simplify their college search. The resources below include information and tools that help students learn about academic options in the state, complete applications, and locate financial aid opportunities.
- College Foundation of West Virginia: This foundation guides students through the college application process. The organization provides resources and information about college and career planning and financial aid.
- West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission: Part of the West Virginia Department of Education, this commission helps students research West Virginia institutions and access financial aid resources from the state government.
- West Virginia Department of Education: This department provides information for all types of learners in the state. Through the department's website, students can learn about state initiatives, government programs, and free online resources.
- StudentAid: This website provides information about federal financial aid programs, scholarship options, and federal aid requirements. Site visitors can also learn about federal grant and loan opportunities.
- BigFuture: This resource from the College Board offers college planning tools. Students can access information about budgeting for college, submitting applications, and improving their chance of acceptance.
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