On Tuesday, the Senate in West Virginia passed a bill that would make technical colleges and community colleges free. The bill, Senate Bill 284, is now going to the House of Delegates.
There are two programs created by the bill—the WV Invests Grant and the Advanced Career Education Program, also known as the ACE program. The mission of the ACE program is to connect technical colleges and community colleges with with county board to prepare students of secondary education for career oriented training. The mission of the WV Invests Grant is to make CTC programs available, free of charge, to students after all other scholarships and grants have run dry.
People of all ages who have a high school equivalents or a high school diplomas are eligible to apply for the WV Invests Grant. The age minimum was 20 years of age, but it was lowered down to18 and anyone younger with the right credentials.
Students who apply for these educational opportunities must meet certain criteria concerning many things, such as residency and academic success. Also, every semester students must pass a drug test.
Senate Bill 284 is a huge step forward in public education. It provides extra educational opportunities to people, especially those who are living on lower incomes. Secondary education is usually not free these days, and many people have to choose between having an education or not being in massive amounts of debt. It seems criminal how much the price of college is going up—even on the community college level.
Also, going to a four year college is not for everyone. High schools try to push educational tracts on students that are not for everybody and downplay vocational education. Senate Bill 284 seems to have been crafted by people who have the students in mind.