Online Degree Programs in West Virginia

The northern state of West Virginia is home to 26 four-year education institutions, as well as 53 community and technical colleges. The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission is the governing board responsible for overseeing higher education institutions in the state. West Virginia’s most prestigious universities are West Virginia University (WVU) and West Virginia Wesleyan College (WVWC). WVU is the largest university in the state and is ranked No. 165 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. This public university was founded in 1867 and is located in Morgantown, W. Va. Meanwhile, WVWC was founded in 1890 is located in Buckhannon, W. Va. U.S. News & World Report ranks WVWC No. 17 on its regional colleges of the south ranking list.

Some of the state’s biggest schools include American Public University System (APUS) and Marshall University. APUS is a proprietary, online education institution formed from American Military University and the American Public University. It was created in the early 1990s and offers online masters degree programs as well as online bachelors degree programs and associate programs. Marshall University is a public university located in Huntington, W.Va. It was founded in 1837 and is ranked No. 41 in the south by U.S. News & World Report.

West Virginia has taken several steps over the years to increase residents’ access to higher education through distance education. One such step was the creation of the Distance Learning Coordinating Council (DLCC). Through West Virginia Code 10-5-2a, the state recognized that distance education leads to a broad variety of courses as well as overall economic benefits to the state in terms of resident professional development. Additionally, it acknowledged that distance education necessitates a considerable economic investment due to the technology it requires. Thus, through Code 10-5-2a, DLCC was created to foster the development of online college degree programs, as well as courses.

West Virginia Distance Learning Initiatives

Various distance learning services have also been created in West Virginia, such as SatNet and EdNet. SatNet is comprised of public college and university systems in West Virginia that are responsible for the development and providing of online degree programs, online courses, and professional development programs. Meanwhile, EdNet is a similar program in which West Virginia public colleges and universities are responsible for producing and communicating distance learning for schools with online degree programs.

There are also several public services that already existed that have begun to devote time and finances to professional development and online degree programs in West Virginia. For instance, the West Virginia Educational Broadcasting Authority, which is a public service that provides educational TV, radio, and media to residents to foster education. In recent years, said service began contributing funds and services to help in the development of distance education in Virginia. Furthermore, the West Virginia Library Commission was delegated to take similar actions. For instance, it hosts the "College Blue Book" resource on its website so that residents can learn about colleges, degrees, and the best online degree programs in West Virginia.