Last Updated: October 03, 2021
West Virginia - The Mountain State
West Virginia is in eastern America. Charleston is the capital city of West Virginia as well as the largest and most populated city in the state. Located within the Appalachian Mountain range, the state has a predominant rugged, mountainous terrain which is why it is popularly known as the 'Mountain State'. The traditional industries that contributed to the state's economy were coal and forestry. The weather is like the state, temperamental. There are tropical imprints on it as the state experiences humid summers. At some places, the temperature soars extremely high during summer. Winters are not harsh but border on being mild. The state has a population of about 1.8 million which makes it the 38th populous state in America. West Virginia once used to be inhabited by tribes such as the Cherokee, Iroquois, Manahoac, Meherrin, Monacan, Nottaway, Shawnee, Occaneechi, etc. West Virginia was a part of Virginia until it got separated from Virginia in 1861. On June 20, 1863, West Virginia was declared a separate state by the proclamation signed by President Abraham Lincoln.
Major Cities in West Virginia
With a population of over 48,000, Charleston is the biggest city in the state. Founded in 1788 and the city is located in Kanawha County and is the capital of West Virginia. Charleston used to be the major center for the production of coal and most importantly salt. Later the economic sectors diversified to trade, retail, healthcare, and education services. The University of Charleston is situated in this city. Popular places to visit in this city are The West Virginia State Capitol, Governor's Mansion, Holly Grove Mansion, Avampato Discovery Museum, South Charleston Museum, West Virginia State Museum, Sunrise Museum, St. George Orthodox Cathedral, Charleston Civic Center, etc.
This is the second-largest city in West Virginia with a population of around 46,000. It was originally known as Holderby's Landing and was later renamed Huntington to honor Collis P. Huntington who established the town in 1870. The city was a major transportation hub and is now popular for its education, healthcare, and medical services. The famous public institute, Marshall University, is located in this city. Some of the most visited sites in the city are The Huntington Museum of Art, The Museum of Radio and Technology, Cabell County Courthouse, Harris Riverfront Park, Ritter Park, Heritage Farm Museum & Village, etc.
This is one of the best cities in West Virginia. With a population of approximately 31,000, Morgantown is the third-largest city in West Virginia. The city's vibrant atmosphere and low crime rates make it one of the most livable cities here. It was founded in 1772 by Colonel Zackquill Morgan, and incorporated as a city in 1838. The largest and the most reputed university, West Virginia University, is located in this city. Popular tourist attractions include the Art Museum of West Virginia University, Deckers Creek, Core Arboretum, Dorsey's Knob Park and Disc Golf Course, White Park, Morgantown Fun Factory, Metropolitan Theatre, and more.
With a population of over 30,000, Parkersburg is the fourth largest city in this state. It was founded in the 1700s and was named after Alexander Parker who had authority over the land. It was incorporated as a city in the year 1860. The city is known as a major transportation center with its leading sector trading. The most popular sites in this city are Fort Boreman Park, Oil & Gas Museum, Julia-Ann Square Historic District, Ohio River Museum, Campus Martius Museum, Blue Rock State Park, Forked Run State Park, Blennerhassett Museum of Regional History, and so on.
- The three most dominating industries in West Virginia are coal mining, tourism, forestry, and the service sector. Some of the coal mining processes are being debated now for their harmful effects on the ecosystem.
- The covid-19 pandemic took a heavy toll on the economic health of the state, especially affecting the tourism industry.
- It is said that the economic growth in this state is extremely slow especially with the major decline in jobs. However, in recent months, the unemployment rates have decreased to 4.8% which is lower than the national unemployment rate.
- Healthcare, education services, government services, business, and manufacturing, are leading sectors contributing to the economy currently.
- Some of the largest companies situated in this state are West Virginia United Health System, CAMC Health System, Brand Energy and Infrastructure Services, Gabe’s, ESMARK, Ogden Newspapers, and so on.
Tuition Fee and Living Cost in West Virginia
The cost of living in the 'MountainState' is extremely low, and a lot cheaper than the national average. Housing costs are the cheapest, whereas healthcare services are costlier than the national average. The most affordable cities to live in in West Virginia are Grafton, Weirton, Clarksburg, Princeton, and New Martinsville. The most expensive cities are Morgantown, Martinsburg, Buckhannon, Charleston, and Huntington. The median household income in West Virginia is around $47,000. Educational costs are moderate in this state. However, it is a lot cheaper for in-state students pursuing higher education in public institutions. There are also various scholarships and grants available that make quality education easily affordable to the people of this state.
List of Few Major Universities/Colleges
- West Virginia University This is a reputed public university located in Morgantown. Established in 1867, it was formerly known as the Agricultural College of West Virginia. It is well-known for its high-quality education and vibrant student life. The university has about 29,000 students and more than 1,500. The student-to-faculty ratio is 20:1. Popular majors offered here are Liberal Arts and Humanities, Journalism, Mechanical Engineering, Nursing, and Sociology. The tuition fee for in-state undergraduate students is about $9,000 and about $23,000 for out-of-state students.
- Shepherd University Situated in Shepherdstown, this is another prestigious public university of the state. It was established in the year 1871. It is popular for its vibrant campus life and diverse student body. With over 4,500 students, the student-to-faculty ratio is 14:1. Liberal Arts and Humanities, Nursing, and Business are the most popular majors offered in this university. The tuition fee for in-state undergraduate students is about $9,000 and around $20,000 for out-of-state students.
- Wheeling Jesuit University Founded in 1954, the university is situated in Wheeling. It was originally known as the Wheeling College, and the Wheeling Jesuit College. It is affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church. The mission of the university is to spread knowledge, along with creativity, spirituality, service, as well as leadership qualities. With more than 1,300 students, the student-to-faculty ratio is 11:1. The tuition fee is about $32,000 for all undergraduate students.
- Appalachian Bible College Established in 1950, the Appalachian Bible College is situated in Mount Hope. It is a private college that focuses on Bible Studies and was founded by Dr. Lester E. Pipkin and Rev. Robert S. Guelich. The college strives to build Christlike character among its students while instilling values of service for God as well as the community. over 280 students and 13 faculty members, the student-to-faculty ratio is 9:1. The tuition fee is roughly $15,000 for all undergraduate students.
- West Virginia Wesleyan College This is a private Liberal Arts college located in the city of Buckhannon. It was founded in the year 1890 and is affiliated with the United Methodist Church. With more than 1,300 students and more than 130 faculty members, the student-to-faculty ratio is 14:1. Kinesiology and Exercise Science, Biology, Business, Nursing, and Physics are the most popular majors provided here. The tuition fee is roughly $34,000 for all undergraduate students in this college.
Scholarships/Financial Aid for Students
- West Virginia Higher Education Grant Program: This is a need-based grant program for undergraduate students. To be eligible for the program, the student must be a citizen of the US, a permanent citizen of West Virginia, and should be a high school graduate planning to pursue an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution on a full-time basis. The student should be able to secure and maintain a minimum score of 2.0 GPA and demonstrate the required level of economic need. The award amount will vary based on the availability of funds. The maximum award amount is up to $3,000 per academic year.
- West Virginia PROMISE Scholarship: This is a merit-based and a need-based grant offered by the state of West Virginia. To be qualified for this program, the student should be a permanent resident of West Virginia and must have graduated high school from an eligible institution in the state. The student is also required to secure a 3.0 GPA, a minimum ACT composite score of 22, or a minimum SAT score of 1100. However, due to the pandemic, the ACT/SAT score criteria have been reduced to 21 (ACT)/1080 (SAT) respectively. The award amount is up to $4,750 per academic year.
- West Virginia Engineering, Science and Technology Scholarship: To be eligible for this scholarship, the student is to select an engineering, science, or technology program, attend an accredited institution on a full-time basis, and work full-time in this field or participate in community service related to the fields. The candidate is also required to score a minimum of 3.0 GPA during high school, and maintain the score during college. The award amount may vary based on the availability of funds. The maximum award amount is up to $3,000 per academic year.
- WV Underwood-Smith Teacher Scholarship Program: This is a program that helps students willing to pursue teaching as a career. To be eligible for the program, the student should be a West Virginia resident, must have graduated from high school from the state, and must plan to pursue an "approved teacher preparation program in math, science, elementary education or special education” from an accredited institution. The candidate should also secure a minimum score of 3.25 GPA in high school, along with a minimum ACT score of 21 in math and 18 in English, or a minimum SAT score of 530 in math and 480 in English. The award amount is up to $10,000 per academic year. Through this program, the candidate will also get a chance to practice teaching with an associate teacher in the chosen field.
One cannot deny how West Virginia is popular through John Denver's popular track 'Country Roads' that aptly describes the beauty of the state, a place that irrefutably feels like 'home'. This is why West Virginia is one of the best destinations for vacation. It is an ideal place for several exciting outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking, skiing, bungee jumping, whitewater rafting, fishing, and camping. Being the third most forested state, the state also offers a lot of greenery for nature lovers. The most popular tourist destinations in the state are Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, Blackwater Falls State Park, Snowshoe Mountain, West Virginia State Penitentiary, Monongahela National Forest and Seneca Rocks, New River Gorge National River, Seneca Caverns, and so much more. Spring is usually the busiest tourist season but it will be best to visit the state during Autumn because of cooler temperatures, the brilliant colors of fall foliage, and of course, Halloween.
Universities & Colleges in West Virginia
*UG - Undergraduate
*G - Graduate
*in - In-state Fees
*out - Out-of-State Fees
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