Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin will celebrate the success of the PROMISE Scholarship Program and the achievements of students who have earned and retained the scholarship during a reception to be held this evening at the Governor's Mansion at 5 p.m. Policy makers, higher education officials, and PROMISE scholars from across the state will attend the event.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the PROMISE Scholarship Program, which was launched in 2002 under the leadership of former Gov. Bob Wise, former State Sen. Lloyd Jackson, II, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin in his role as Senate President, and Education and the Arts Cabinet Secretary Kay Goodwin. Since the scholarship's creation, more than 32,000 students have been awarded the scholarship through the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission with $315 million provided to help West Virginians attend college. Gov. Tomblin said those funds represent a valuable investment in our state.
"Ten years ago, West Virginia made a promise to its young people: if you work hard, earn good grades, and fully commit to pursuing a college education in our state, we will help you pay for a college education. That promise is paying off today for students and their families -- but more importantly for our state. Research shows that receiving the PROMISE Scholarship helps ensure that our students graduate from college, because the program requires students to maintain a high grade point average and take a rigorous course load," Gov. Tomblin said. "To meet workforce demands and grow our economy, West Virginia needs additional qualified college graduates. The PROMISE Scholarship is a valuable tool in helping keep young, bright West Virginians active in our local communities and across our Great State."
Education and the Arts Cabinet Secretary Kay Goodwin noted that the scholarship created new opportunities for our students and their families. "PROMISE changed the conversation about college," said Secretary Goodwin. "The scholarship reframed the way families think about college by helping them recognize the opportunities that are available in West Virginia and by putting a college education within reach. In removing many of the financial barriers associated with pursuing postsecondary education, we have empowered our young people to take charge of their futures."
Higher education Chancellor Paul L. Hill said the PROMISE Scholarship Program is representative of a strong commitment by the state to ensure that students have the opportunity to pursue postsecondary education. "Thanks to the visionary leadership of our state Legislature, former Governor Wise, Governor Tomblin, Secretary Goodwin, and others, West Virginia has become a national leader in promoting college affordability through the provision of need and merit-based financial aid. Our state ranks fifth in the nation in providing financial aid for undergraduate students. The PROMISE Scholarship Program is an integral component in removing financial barriers to student success and assuring that young West Virginians are able to achieve their full potential."
The PROMISE Scholarship Program can be utilized at all public two-year and four-year institutions of higher education in West Virginia and at many private colleges and universities in the state. To receive PROMISE, students must obtain a grade point average of 3.0 or higher, an overall ACT score of 22, and a score of at least 20 in each of four ACT subject areas.
More information about the PROMISE Scholarship Program and other state financial aid programs, such as the West Virginia Higher Education Grant Program, can be found through the College Foundation of West Virginia, the state's free college planning website located at www.cfwv.com.