"It eliminates exit points -- points where students can drop out of the system," Crane said.
Also, Vandal noted, one of the major stumbling blocks to student retention and graduation is the core math requirement -- which traditionally means college algebra.
"To be college-ready means you need to be able to pass college algebra. Mathematics is the biggest hurdle for students going to college," Vandal said. "If they can't get over that hurdle, oftentimes they won't graduate."
While college algebra is a necessary building block for students majoring in math, engineering or the sciences, Vandal said Complete College America advocates offering more appropriate math pathways, such as statistics courses for business, marketing and political science majors, and quantitative literacy courses for majors in journalism, foreign languages or graphic design.
"We're putting students into a system they don't need," he said.
Sen. Larry Edgell, D-Wetzel, agreed.
"As a former math teacher, I had to know algebra because I taught it, but I never used it in real life," Edgell said. "I don't need to know when the plane from New York and the plane from Los Angeles are going to cross each other."
West Virginia is one of 34 states participating in Complete College America, and one of nine states in leadership roles, Vandal said.
Reach Phil Kabler at ph...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.