About HEROs

The Higher Education Readiness Officers (HEROs) program was created by the West Virginia GEAR UP program and is now coordinated through the College Foundation of West Virginia (CFWV). Like CFWV, the HEROs effort focuses on helping more students plan, apply, and pay for college. HEROs is a school organization made up of students who want to help their classmates succeed. HEROs work to build a college-going culture in their schools and communities.

Participating schools

HEROs groups are active in several high schools across West Virginia.

  • Bluefield High School
  • Hannan Junior/Senior High School
  • Meadow Bridge High School
  • Midland Trail High School
  • Mingo Central High School
  • Montcalm High School
  • Nicholas County High School
  • Oak Hill High School
  • Pikeview High School
  • Point Pleasant Junior/Senior High School
  • Princeton High School
  • Richwood High School
  • Scott High School
  • Sherman High School
  • Summers County High School
  • Tug Valley High School
  • Van Junior/Senior High School
  • Wahama Junior/Senior High School
  • Webster County High School
  • Westside High School
  • Wirt County High School
  • Wyoming East High School

Defining “college”

When we talk about college, we mean any sort of high-quality training beyond high school. This includes certificate programs, two-year associate’s degree programs, and four-year bachelor’s degree programs.

Why it matters…

Many people think that making sure every student has a chance to pursue a college education is one of the greatest civil rights issues of this generation. College graduates…

  • earn more
  • tend to have jobs they like
  • tend to be healthier and happier
  • are more likely to be involved in their communities

But too few West Virginians go on to earn a college degree. As a state, we are missing out on the opportunities that college provides. Our future depends on getting more students to — and through — college. By 2021, more than 51 percent of all jobs in West Virginia will require an associate degree or higher. Right now, only 29 percent of West Virginians have a degree.

What’s the problem?

In the past, attending college was pretty exclusive. Most students who attended college were from wealthier families. Although that system might not have been fair, it worked out ok… at least in terms of economics. Back then, there were plenty of good-paying jobs for high school grads. Now, the workforce has changed and most high-paying jobs require education and training beyond high school. That means ALL students should be pursuing a college diploma.

But here’s the big problem: preparing for college takes a lot of knowledge and planning. Students who are the first in their family to go don’t have a parent who can offer them advice from personal experience. So states like West Virginia, who have a lot of first-generation college students, have to work harder to make sure their students are college-ready. That’s where the HEROs come in…

Your Mission

As a HERO, it’s your job to promote a college-going culture that supports students in the college-going process and encourages them to dream big and earn a certificate or diploma.

The Payoff

College changes lives. By helping your classmates pursue their dreams, you’re giving them a brighter future and creating a better West Virginia! (Plus, we’ll give you a free t-shirt.)