The capped Promise Scholarship no longer covers full tuition costs at eight of West Virginia's 10 public four-year colleges and universities, according to a report issued this week.

The report says the average yearly tuition cost for West Virginia's public undergraduate institutions is $5,014, based on 2010-2011 academic year figures.

The merit-based Promise Scholarship, once a full tuition award, now pays eligible students $4,750 toward college tuition and fees.

The WV Legislature capped the scholarship's award in 2009, hoping the price limit would cause students to look at the state's smaller schools.

Former governor Bob Wise, who started the Promise Scholarship program, opposes the Promise cap and thinks the scholarship still should cover full tuition costs.

Wise who is now president of the Alliance for Excellent Education in Washington, believes the program is becoming less effective.

"The promise you're making is less and less of a promise," Wise said.

The scholarships were originally intended to keep the hardest-working students in West Virginia.

Jack Toney, The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission's director of state financial aid programs, said Promise recipients usually receive other scholarships.

Right now, the Promise scholarship covers full tuition costs at only two West Virginia four-year institutions, West Virginia State University and Bluefield State College.

West Virginia University undergraduate students will pay $5,406 for tuition this year, $656 more than the Promise covers.

Marshall University's general tuition fee is lower, $5,285 this school year, but can be more expensive depending on students' majors. Marshall business undergrads pay the most, $5,775 a year.

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