The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

September 17, 2013

Student counseling program to use texting

By Jessica Farrish
Register-Herald Reporter

BECKLEY — For a generation of students who place pizza orders via a text message, texting is the logical way for college counselors to reach them.

West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and Dr. Paul Hill, chancellor of Higher Education Policy Commission, announced Monday that the commission is launching a new way for West Virginia students to get help preparing for college.

The pilot program offers counseling at 14 state high schools via text message.

“As we work to prepare students for the 21st century economy, it only makes sense to include the use of today’s technology in our communications and support efforts,” Gov. Tomblin said.

“This pilot project, developed by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, holds much promise as it has the potential to offer students more personalized support and increased access to services which can help them succeed.”

Three area schools — Summers County and both Wyoming County high schools, Westside and Wyoming County East — are enrolled in the program.

Hill said the project offers an opportunity to keep pace with students, who increasingly rely on digital and mobile connectedness in their daily lives.

“This is an exciting opportunity for West Virginia. As we really sharpen our focus on both encouraging high school students to attend college and supporting them until they walk across the stage to a degree, we have to be nimble and innovative,” Hill said. “That’s exactly what this project is — and I believe we’ll see some terrific outcomes.”

Starting this fall, high school seniors attending one of the 14 high schools can opt-in to receive college-planning text messages.

As part of this pilot project, students may also communicate via text message with their high school counselor, or a college admissions or financial aid representative associated with four participating colleges, Bluefield State College, Concord University, Marshall University and Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College.

Standard message rates apply. Students who sign up to receive the messages can opt-out at any time.

The program is funded via a $225,000 grant from the Kresge Foundation, a $3.2 billion private foundation that supports various non-profit organizations.

For more information about the project, visit: