Applications for the PROMISE Scholarship continued to lag with just more with just more than six weeks left in the application period.

The deadline to apply for the PROMISE Scholarship for Fall 2021 – Spring 2022 is March 1.

The FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, must also be filed by that date to qualify.

As of earlier this week, 3,862 PROMISE initial applications had been received compared with 8,289 at the same time last year, according to the Higher Education Policy Commission.

Dr. Sarah Armstrong Tucker, HEPC chancellor, said there were probably a couple of reasons for that, including the daily demands of life in the coronavirus pandemic and ongoing out-of-school instruction.

“In the past, we have had students who were a captive audience in school and guidance counselors and teachers were able to lead them through the application process,” she said.

This year, “Students and families are going to have to do this on their own and it’s really important for them to do so.”

The application was available online.

The PROMISE is a merit-based scholarship for West Virginia residents providing up to $4,750 per year for four undergraduate years or completion of a bachelor’s degree, whichever comes first.

Though the application deadline was March 1, students had until later this fall to take ACTs or SATs to qualify for the PROMISE funding.

To encourage applicants for both PROMISE and the FAFSA, the Education Alliance has two more prize giveaways scheduled on Feb. 16 and March 2. For the contest, applications must be submitted through the “Cool Cash for College” website.

“We’re getting vaccinated. People are going to go back to school. Next fall’s going to be a completely different ballgame for everybody,” said Dr. Armstrong Tucker.