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Good Investment

Lawmakers offer free tuition to some colleges

Despite all the talk about “investing” in West Virginia’s future, few acts of the Legislature do that. The unpleasant truth is that our state cannot afford all the “investment” we would like.

But lawmakers took the plunge on a bill offering free tuition for some community college students, and it appears to be paying off. The measure went into effect last summer.

Since then, first-time enrollment at state community colleges has increased by about 10%, it was reported last week. And the program seems to be encouraging more high school students to get a head start on higher education by taking community college classes.

Here in West Virginia, the cost of college discourages many people from even trying to earn degrees. Giving some of them free tuition makes a difference.

Our state has the lowest education attainment rate in the nation. That is bad news for the economy as a whole — and worse for West Virginia residents trying to land good jobs. Legislators made the right decision to invest in changing the situation.