The Promise scholarship is an award that is available to college students in West Virginia. This award is a merit-based award, making it more competitive to receive than other WV scholarships. The Promise scholarship can be used to defray the cost of student fees and/or tuition.
In order to be eligible for this award, students must be residents of WV and plan to attend a college or university in-state. Students may choose any college or university, even private colleges, provided that they are located in WV.
The award provides students with $4,750 each year and the award can be renewed. In order to renew the scholarship, students must have successfully completed at least 30 credit hours in the prior academic year. If a student has unenrolled from a course or receive a failing grade in a course, those credits will not count towards the 30 credit hour minimum. Only students with at least a 2.75 grade point average in their first year and students with at least a 3.0 grade point average in following years can have their awards renewed. Students may renew the award through their senior year in college.
This award has caused some confusion because previously earned credits, such as those earned in high school, through Advanced Placement exams, will no count towards the 30 hour minimum credits. As a general rule of thumb, students receive no credit for courses earned before their first official semester in college. This means that students must take at least 15 credits (generally 5 classes if you are on the semester system) per semester in order to remain eligible for the award. Alternatively, students may take less classes during spring or fall semester and take classes during the summer semester.
Generally, the Promise application opens on November 1st of each year. Students must complete the Promise application form along with a FAFSA application prior to the March 1st deadline. Applicants who are selected as Promise scholars will receive an initial award letter sometime in April. Students are also required to meet minimum scores on the SAT or ACT and should be aware of the last testing dates for those exams (which typically occur in June). Additional information about the timeline can be found on this website: https://secure.cfwv.com/Financial_Aid_Planning/Scholarships/Scholarships_and_Grants/West_Virginia_PROMISE.aspx.
It is highly recommended that Promise applicants engage in community service during their tenure in high school and college. At least 20 hours of service, at an established organization, is recommended.
Students who accept the Promise scholarship, must agree to provide the WV Higher Education Policy Commission with demographic information after graduation. This may include post-graduate employment, address, and enrollment in subsequent degree programs. Students are also eligible to take a leave of absence from their institution without the risk of losing their award. Some students may do this in order to report for military duty, to study abroad, for financial hardship, or to provide volunteer work. Additional information about this and other Frequently Asked Questions can be found at this following website: https://secure.cfwv.com/Financial_Aid_Planning/Scholarships/Promise/FAQ.aspx#8.