The PROMISE Scholarship is a $4,750 scholarship awarded to West Virginia graduating seniors who maintain at least a 3.0 grade point average and earn an ACT 22 composite score with a minimum of 20 in English, mathematics, science, and reading.

Data from the past five years released by the West Virginia High Education Policy Commission shows that 49,982 West Virginia high school students have been awarded the PROMISE Scholarship. That breaks down to an average of 9,996 students each year. The monetary value of the almost 50,000 scholarship awards amounts to $233,990,505 assisting West Virginia high school students who pay for post-secondary education. The average yearly amount of more than $46 million dollars helps make college somewhat affordable for West Virginia students.

The recent news that PROMISE Scholarship money for graduating seniors is not yet guaranteed by the state of WV is an abject failure of our state government to make education a priority. The news is disappointing on a number of fronts. The legislature’s failure to agree on a budget has put scholarship money in limbo for students set to graduate this month. Students who have already chosen a college based on financial aid information that included the PROMISE scholarship are now faced with questions about whether they will be able to afford their chosen college or if they can attend college at all.

From a philosophical standpoint, the budget failure illustrates that state legislators are more concerned with political posturing than the future of West Virginia. Since 2002, WV students have counted on the PROMISE Scholarship as financial means to attend college. These students have worked diligently to achieve a 3.0 grade point average and a passing ACT score in order to earn the PROMISE Scholarship. The implementation of the PROMISE scholarship not only made college a reality for many WV high school students, but also helped keep graduating seniors in the state, attending our colleges and universities.

The state has already reduced the PROMISE from a full tuition scholarship to an amount of$4,750 which does not cover full tuition at any state college or university. Now the invaluable scholarship is being held hostage.

To make West Virginia competitive on the national scale, we need to encourage students to be educated and remain in our great state. Too many West Virginians now live in Ohio, Maryland, Virginia, or North Carolina. At what point do we make a conscious decision to take steps to keep the future of our state in our state. Funding the PROMISE Scholarship this year and beyond is but one step in that direction. Much more work needs to be done, but I urge those in positions of power to keep the PROMISE they made to West Virginia’s youth.

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Pictured are JMHS students who are currently PROMISE Scholarship eligible and stand to lose money.

Jason Marling is the curriculum principal at John Marshall High School.

3 Responses

  1. Judy Hennen

    Promise Scholarship: Help me understand. (honestly) Where does all the education money go? Why is it wrapped up in a budget when it is clearly marked for the Promise Scholarship? “I don’t believe anyone could have imagined the impact lottery revenue would make when that first ticket was sold in 1986,” West Virginia Lottery Director John Musgrave says. “Revenue from the West Virginia Lottery has helped to improve our public schools at every level, provide for college scholarships through the PROMISE Scholarship Program, provide meals and facilities for our senior citizens and helped our tourism industry grow. These are all things we can be proud of.”Since its inception, the West Virginia has produced more than $2.8 billion for schools and education, $933 million for senior programs and services, and more than $858 million for tourism and parks. In addition, West Virginia Lottery players have won more than $2.5 Billion in prizes.

    In fiscal year 2014, West Virginia Lottery sales exceeded the $1 billion mark for the 12th consecutive year and the West Virginia State Budget included $622.5 million in transfers from the Lottery, including $33.1 million in revenue paid to county and local municipalities across the State. Total Lottery transfers for the year included $104.8 million for senior citizens, $112.3 million for education, $52.5 million for tourism, $103 million to the State’s General Fund for expenses including Education and Health and Human Services, $55.6 to the Infrastructure Council, and $165.3 million to other state agencies (including $29 million to the PROMISE scholarship program).
    Since its inception, the West Virginia has produced more than $2.8 billion for schools and education, $933 million for senior programs and services, and more than $858 million for tourism and parks. In addition, West Virginia Lottery players have won more than $2.5 Billion in prizes.

  2. Anthony Underwood

    The PROMISE actually does cover tuition at several state colleges.

  3. J. Marsh

    Thank you, Mr. Marling, for advocating for your students and for what is in the best interest of our State. If the our legislators are foolish enough to deny financial assistance to WV’s top performing high school students, they should be run out of office by every voter in our State. Those same students will one day become full time taxpayers. Let’s not give them another reason to leave WV.


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