UPDATE - WV governor Jim Justice said he requested that the application deadline for the PROMISE Scholarship be pushed back from March 1, which he said will happen. Justice did not elaborate on what that deadline will now be.

The governor is also authorizing $341,000 in federal funding to cover the cost of the ACT exam for high school seniors applying for the PROMISE Scholarship.

Submitted by Brandy Brabham, WVU-Roane County Extension Agent, 304-927-0975

Amid a global pandemic, it is no surprise that the ever-evolving situation is now being reflected in the higher education environment. The state has seen more than a 40% decline in the number of Promise Scholarship applications compared to this same time last year.

As students begin to prepare for the next steps in their educational journey, there are two important applications that should be completed to be considered for higher education financial assistance—the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the Promise Scholarship.

To be considered for federal financial aid, students must complete the FAFSA. The data collected on the application is used to determine a student’s federal aid eligibility. Visit the Federal Student Aid website for more information, including understanding the aid, filing the FAFSA, reviewing the aid offer letter and more.

The priority deadline for the FAFSA is March 1, 2021. Applicants that reach the priority deadline will have an increased chance of receiving more federal financial aid. If the March 1 deadline is missed, students have until April 15, 2021 to complete the application.

The Promise Scholarship, which was established in 2001, is a merit-based scholarship for West Virginia residents based on high school grade point average and ACT or SAT scores. The funds allow high school students to attend an in-state college or university at little to no cost.

Even though the Promise Scholarship is an additional application process, it is an easy one. For more information on the scholarship, visit the College Foundation of West Virginia’s website. Like the FAFSA, the deadline for Promise Scholarship applications is March 1, 2021.

To assist in the financial aid process, free one-on-one consultations are available through the Mountaineer HUB and Higher Education Policy Commission’s College Foundation of West Virginia. If you need local assistance, please call or stop by the WVU Extension Service in Roane County at 110 Parking Plaza, Spencer, WV (the lower level of the Roane County Library) or call us at 304-927-0975.