By Phil Kabler, Statehouse Reporter for the Gazette-Mail

Enrollment at state four-year and community colleges has dropped, but the number of graduates has improved, state higher education officials told legislators Monday in the annual presentation of the state Higher Education Report Card.

Higher Education Policy Commission Chancellor Paul Hill said enrollment peaked in 2011, in the aftermath of the Great Recession.

“Then, it started to decline as more people got back into the workforce,” he told the Legislative Oversight Commission on Education Accountability.

Also affected by declining numbers of state high school students, full-time equivalent undergraduate enrollment has dropped from 64,427 students in 2011 to 61,042 in 2014, a decline of more than 5 percent, according to the Report Card. However, a total of 9,269 bachelor’s degrees were awarded in 2014, up from 8,886 degrees in 2011.

Meanwhile, bachelor’s degrees in health-related fields jumped nearly 26 percent from 2010, while degrees in STEM majors — science, technology, engineering, math — increased more than 12 percent during the period.

READ REST OF STORY:   Fewer enrolling in WV colleges, but number of graduates has improved   By Phil Kabler, Statehouse Reporter for the Gazette-Mail