Gov. Justice speaks to U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos about Federal Grant problems at WVU, WVSU
Discussion centers around loss of program funding due to minor clerical errors in applications
CHARLESTON, WV - Gov. Jim Justice spoke with U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos on Tuesday about the loss of federal funding for scholarship programs at West Virginia University and West Virginia State University that serve low-income students in undergraduate and graduate programs at those two institutions.
Both WVU and WVSU had minor clerical errors in their applications and were denied federal dollars they both have received for several years. WVU's oversight totaled $2 and now puts at risk more than $200,000 for its McNair Scholars program. WVSU made a $104 mistake that will cost it funding in excess of $500,000 for its Upward Bound program. Officials at both institutions have said that if the decisions stand both programs will be eliminated.
"Obviously these programs at WVU and WVSU have been successful and productive for many years and to see small mistakes on an application jeopardize these programs for our neediest students is disheartening," said Gov. Justice. "I urged Secretary DeVos to try and work this out and I am certain she understands what is at stake here for our West Virginia students."
"Since the State Legislature whacked our higher education institutions with significant budget cuts this just compounds the problem," Gov. Justice said. "This irresponsibility by our State Legislators could lead to more unnecessary pain."
"We want to make sure we do everything possible to keep these programs up and running smoothly," Gov. Justice added. "They are far too important to be eliminated, especially due to a small, unintentional human error."
At WVU, the McNair Scholars program has been in existence for 18 years and annually pairs 25 low-income and first generation college students, with a professor in their field of study, to assist them in pursuing graduate school and/or a doctoral degree.
WVSU has operated the Upward Bound program for more than 50 years. It assists low-income and first generation students in secondary schools by allowing them to take classes earning free college credits and establishing a pathway to attend college upon graduation from high school.
Grant Herring, Grant.W.Herring@wv.gov