June 16, 2017

Manchin: Dept. of Education to reconsider WVU, WVSU funding requests | Charleston Gazette-Mail

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., says Education Secretary Betsy DeVos assured him her department is reconsidering the issue concerning funding requests from two West Virginia colleges that made small mistakes on their applications.

The schools, West Virginia University and West Virginia State University, both recently learned they lost out on hundreds of thousands of federal dollars because of errors on their applications to the U.S. Department of Education, the federal department that oversees the funds.

Manchin said the universities’ programs are needed because low-income families don’t have the experience or resources to help children navigate the college process.

“That is why I called Secretary DeVos today to urge her to reconsider her decision to deny West Virginia University and West Virginia State University the opportunity to reapply for these critical grants,” Manchin said in a statement. “After our conversation, Secretary DeVos assured me that the Department of Education is reconsidering the matter.”

Manchin and the rest of West Virginia’s congressional delegation pressured DeVos and her department to reconsider the application, and several penned letters for as much.

On WVU’s application, the university rounded up a figure by $2, meaning it lost out on more than $200,000 to fund its McNair Scholars program. This program helps low-income and first generation college students already in college to pursue graduate degrees.

On WVSU’s application, officials made a small clerical mistake of $104 on a supporting document to go with its application, meaning it lost out on half a million dollars to fund part of its Upward Bound program. This program helps low-income and first generation middle and high school students earn free college credits before they attend college, among other things.

Officials from U.S. Department of Education did not return a request for comment in time for this report.