West Virginia: The Return on Investment to Increasing Postsecondary Credential Attainment

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West Virginia Must Improve College Participation and Credential Attainment Rates to Remain Competitive


  • To remain globally competitive, the U.S. and each state should ensure that at least 60% of adults ages 25 to 64 have an associate or bachelor’s degree by 2025. In West Virginia, the current rate is 26.1%.
  • West Virginia ranks 8th among 50 states in the size of the credential increase it needs to achieve annually. To meet the 60% goal, it will need to produce an additional 224,339 degrees by 2025.
  • By achieving rates of the top-performing states, West Virginia can produce about 69,000 bachelor’s degrees, 43,000 associate degrees and 13,000 certificates by 2025.


Meeting Top Performers Produces Significant Personal Economic Return


Per capita income increases when the state meets top performers


  • Under current postsecondary investment patterns, annual personal per capita income in West Virginia is projected to increase by about $110 in 2025.
  • By meeting top performers, annual per capita income would increase significantly more, by approximately $1,200 in 2025.


Meeting Top Performance Produces Significant Economic Returns to the State

Status quo produces negative returns

Under current postsecondary investment patterns,
West Virginia’s state revenues will decrease by about $20
million in 2025.

Meeting top performance pays off

By meeting top performance, West Virginia will generate more annual revenue, topping approximately $249 million in


State Revenues Exceed Costs When Top Performance is Met

Status Quo: Costs and revenues decline

Under current postsecondary investment patterns,
West Virginia’s postsecondary costs decline and so do state revenues – to about -$20 million in 2025.

Top Performance: Revenues exceed costs

By meeting top performance, West Virginia’s revenues
exceed postsecondary costs by nearly $145 million in


This analysis was prepared using the CLASP-NCHEMS Return on Investment Dashboard tool.  See clasp2022.tealmedia.dev/ROIdashboard