State Watch

Free community college bill passes West Virginia legislature

Greg Nash

The West Virginia legislature passed a bill giving state residents free community college, sending the measure for the governor’s signature.

The state Senate on Thursday unanimously agreed to amendments from the House, marking the legislation’s passage, according to the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

{mosads}Senate Finance Committee Chairman Craig Blair (R) said he believes the landmark legislation will positively benefit the state by bringing in new business and better educating the workforce.

“It’s the best bill I’ve ever seen, I believe,” Blair told the Gazette-Mail.

In order to receive free tuition, students must maintain a 2.0 grade-point average, pass a drug test each semester they are enrolled and complete at least eight hours of community service.

Additionally, it only applies to students taking at least six credit hours a semester.

The bill also extends free tuition to students enrolled in technical colleges.

Those who receive the free tuition would have to stay within the state for two years after earning their degree or be forced to repay the grants.

If Gov. Jim Justice (R) signs the measure, West Virginia would join more than a dozen other states that have similar programs in place.

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