Recent Belpre High School graduate, Lydia White, had plans to move away this fall to go to college. Yet in light of the many challenges taking place worldwide this year, she rethought her college plans, deciding instead to stay local and enroll at Washington State Community College (WSCC). Here in the Mid-Ohio Valley and across the country, research shows she is not alone.

White had big plans to pursue a degree in art at one of the larger state universities in Ohio, however, after discussing her options with her family, she felt that staying close to home would be the better option for her specific degree pursuits. “If [the university] did go online, I’d be wasting a lot of money doing that. I would find [art] hard to be able to do online. I’d rather wait two years to take an in-person art class instead of doing online ones. I chose Washington State, just in case they did move online, just to save some money.”

A recent national survey of high school seniors conducted by Wakefield Research for Junior Achievement and Project Management Institute’s Educational Foundation concluded that her peers across the country share White’s concerns. The research shows that roughly half of 2020 graduates have changed their post-high school plans due to Covid-19. Of those planning to attend college, 58% said their biggest concerns are the impact the pandemic will have on classes and academic quality. Many students are deciding to enroll at a community college where they can save some money while fulfilling general education requirements.

“Washington State has always served a vital role in this community. That role is just as crucial today as it was nearly 50 years ago when we first opened our doors,” assured WSCC’s Director of New Enrollment Carrie Thrash. “Education is a powerful tool and a community college education provides the experience and training students need to either join the workforce or advance their degree.”

Thrash confirmed that she’s seeing students who are modifying their academic plans and deciding to enroll locally. “We are getting more calls every day of students who want to avoid the hassle of moving away only to be sent back home in the middle of the semester to take classes remotely, said Thrash. “I tell them enrolling at WSCC means they don’t lose time or focus. They can take the exact same classes with the same rigor at a fraction of the cost.”

In a breakdown, she compared WSCC’s tuition rates to public and private institutions. On average, a four-year public college costs $400 per credit hour and that figure jumps to $1,100 or more at a private institution. WSCC’s tuition is only $165 per credit hour in-state rates available to 12 surrounding W.Va. counties.

Thrash also pointed out that Washington State participates in the Ohio Department of Higher Education Transfer Module and Transfer Assurance Guide systems. This allows credits earned at WSCC to be easily transferred and applied toward a degree at a state-sponsored college or university in Ohio, as well as other institutions that have developed pathways with Washington State.

“While there is no way to predict how the pandemic will play out this fall, we can offer assurance that we can keep a student on track with their education and do so affordably,” confirmed Thrash.

Washington State is an open-enrollment institution with no application fee. The fall session will begin on August 17. For additional information on enrollment and the academic programs offered at WSCC, contact the Admissions Department at 740.568.1900.

For more than 48 years, Washington State Community College has fueled the community’s future through education. We work to make a positive impact by providing opportunities for growth. Whether you are a recent high school graduate or an adult student looking to enrich your life, we cultivate pathways to guide you toward future growth.  Be inspired. Be WSCC. For more information about Washington State Community College, visit or call 740.374.8716.