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Dean Crawford

Recently the West Virginia legislature approved the West Virginia Invests grant. West Virginia Invests is a state-funded grant program that covers the full cost of basic tuition and fees for select certificate and associate degree programs at a West Virginia public two- or four-year institution.

Priority is given to programs in high-demand fields, such as information technology or healthcare, as determined by the West Virginia Department of Commerce. This is a last-dollar-in program, meaning that it will pay for any amount up to the total cost of tuition and fees that isn't already covered by other state or federal grants or scholarships.

Mountwest Community and Technical College is one of the community colleges in the state participating in the program.

The campus is quiet on this day. The spring semester is over and the staff are preparing for the coming fall semester, which will begin in August.

Mountwest is prepared for any student who is taking advantage of the West Virginia Invest grant.

"We know there's around 220 people who have applied for the Invests grant and listed Mountwest as a college they are interested in attending," Dean Crawford, director of student recruitment at Mountwest, said. "We're not going to know the increase in enrollment until the fall."

The West Virginia Invests grant will keep student workers and Crawford busy this summer as they reach out to potential students and students who, for whatever reason, left school without completing their degree.

"The student workers have been calling more people and telling them about West Virginia Invests," Crawford said. "We're also contacting people who may have come here and left and letting them know they could come back for free. We're also trying to contact students we know who may be taking loans out and encouraging them to apply."

A list of available programs can be found at www.wvinvests.gov.

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