The following editorial appeared in the Charleston (W.Va.) Daily Mail on Tues., July 21:
For many high school students in West Virginia, going to college teeters on whether they’ll earn a scholarship.
But according to the Higher Education Policy Commission, more than 3,200 recent high school graduates earned a PROMISE Scholarship.
Students who meet certain grade point average and college entrance exam benchmarks are awarded up to $4,750 annually for tuition and fees at colleges and universities across West Virginia. Since its inception 13 years ago, PROMISE has awarded $400 million to 35,000 students.
Research shows receiving the PROMISE, paid for by videogaming revenue, increases a student’s likelihood of completing college, according to the Policy Commission.
Also helping kids attain their educational goals, Senators Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito announced that the U.S. Department of Education has awarded $1.5 million to the TRiO Support Services programs at five state institutions, to provide academic support and counseling to low-income, first-generation or disabled college students.
Paul Hill, the state’s higher education chancellor, said awards through the PROMISE Scholarship combined with needs-based state grants makes West Virginia “one of the top financial aid-providing states in the nation.”
“These investments showcase our state’s commitment to advancing higher education opportunities for our students.”
West Virginia, perhaps more than any other state, needs more citizens with degrees beyond a high school diploma.
Because of the PROMISE and other investments, many West Virginia students are seeing an otherwise unattainable college education within reach.