CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- There's been a 23 percent rise in the number of students at West Virginia's four-year colleges receiving institutional scholarships and grants over the past five academic years, a state report says.
The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission presented state lawmakers with a comprehensive financial aid report on Monday. The information about the number of students receiving institutional grants and scholarships was included in a supplemental report. About 14,300 students received an institutional scholarship or grant in the 2011-2012 school year, up from about 11,600 in the 2007-2008 school year, according to the report.
However, not all schools saw increases during that period. The WVU Institute of Technology saw its scholarships and grants decrease from 489 to 191. Meanwhile, West Virginia University's numbers grew from about 5,400 to about 7,200.
The supplemental report says the total value of scholarships and grants grew nearly 30 percent over the past five years, from $31 million to about $40.1 million. The report also says the average amount of money each school in the state offered increased at all but two of the state's 12 colleges.
West Virginia State University's average institutional grants and scholarships increased by 40 percent, from $3,407 to $4,777, giving it the largest average award among the state's colleges. The WVU Institute of Technology saw its similar financial awards decline by more than 43 percent, from $4,118 to $2,325.
Although Potomac State College of WVU offered the smallest average award among four-year colleges at $1,083, that was still an increase from the $953 it offered in the 2007-2008 school year.
While the number of scholarships and grants increased, so did the number of students receiving Pell Grants. The need-based federal grants are an indicator a student comes from a low-income family. The report says the number of institutional scholarship and grant recipients at four-year institutions who also received a Pell Grant increased from 27.2 to 35.4 percent. The report says that increase is largely due to growth in the Pell Grant program during that time period.
The report also notes that over the five-year period, about 25 percent of the students receiving institutional grants and scholarships were from out of state. Education officials have said out-of-state students help grow the state's educated workforce.