Chris Schulz Published

Fairmont State University Announces Free Dual Enrollment For Students In Foster Care

The sun sets over Fairmont State University's campus. A building with two tall columns and long, glass panes out front reflects the sunset. A cement path cuts through a grass quad, leading to the building.
The sun sets over an athletics and student center at Fairmont State University in Marion County.
Jack Walker/West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A new program at Fairmont State University will focus on helping students in foster care. 

The Middle College at Fairmont State will offer free dual enrollment for all West Virginia juniors and seniors in foster care.

Gov. Jim Justice was joined by several stakeholders in Charleston Thursday morning to announce the program.

“Our foster children have been dealt enough bad hands, enough tough stuff,” he said “Now, we can say to them, ‘You come, come one and all.’ Not only do you come but we’re going to begin educating you even before you’re maybe old enough…Not only that, we’re gonna do it for free. How’s it get any better?” 

Diana Phillips, provost of Fairmont State, said the program will be made possible through a broad reaching partnership between her university, the Department of Education, the Department of Human Services and the nonprofit child welfare organization KVC West Virginia.

“It takes all of us coming together to support these students and to create an initiative like this in the state of West Virginia, the first of its kind in the United States and that deserves all of the support and all of the initiative, all of the hard work that people are bringing to bear for this,” Phillips said.

Students in the program will be able to earn an associate degree while finishing high school and go on to complete their bachelor’s degree in two years. Philips said the program has been in the works since she met with Brent Lemon, KVC’s president, two years ago.

“We have been working on this together with Fairmont State for two years, but it’s been wrapped up here for about eight years now,” Lemon said, pointing to his head. “I can’t even verbalize how happy I am to see this day come.”