West Virginia Access Center for Higher Education
The West Virginia Access Center for Higher Education is a not-for-profit organization established in 1998 to encourage more West Virginia students to participate in post-secondary education.
Studies have repeatedly shown a direct correlation between education and economic prosperity. The college degree has essentially become what the high school degree used to be: a requirement for (though not a guarantee of) securing a middle-class income.
Unfortunately, many West Virginians' perceptions of higher education have not kept pace with the changing reality. Without a well-educated citizenry, our state risks falling further behind in the competition for quality, living-wage jobs.
Based on a successful model developed for Appalachian Ohio, the WVACHE has pursued its mission by providing two-year “Access Project” grants to public high schools in West Virginia on a competitive basis. These Access Projects implement activities that encourage students to consider college (whether a two- or four-year degree program), explore careers and find financial aid to help them pursue higher education.
Typical activities of a WVACHE Access Project include, but are not limited to, field trips to campuses and businesses; career-interest assessments; college and career fairs; ACT/SAT preparation assistance; peer speakers; and financial-aid information.
The WVACHE is not a recruiting arm for any higher-education institution. The program helps students overcome barriers to college—which college they ultimately choose to attend is up to them.