CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The governing boards of the state’s higher education systems are taking steps to help students keep their current grant and scholarships due to the impact of the coronavirus.
Both the state Higher Education Policy Commission and state Council of Community and Technical Colleges approved measures Friday that will waive certain GPA requirements and extend previous deadlines.
Sarah Armstrong Tucker, interim chancellor of the HEPC and chancellor of the state CTC system, said the changes on colleges campuses caused by the coronavirus and the closing of public schools is not the fault of students.
“We don’t want to penalize them for something they have no control over,” Tucker said.
The boards voted Friday to waive the GPA requirement for students to renew the Promise Scholarship, Higher Education Grant, Underwood-Smith Teacher Scholarship, and Engineering, Science & Technology Scholarship from 2019-20 to 2020-21.
‼️West Virginia’s higher education systems are providing temporary flexibilities to students receiving state financial aid, in light of campus changes aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19. https://t.co/orosjDJh2N
— WV HEPC (@WVHEPC) March 20, 2020
Tucker said the changes make sense.
“it didn’t seem fair to tell a Promise Scholar, ‘I’m sorry that all of these changes have happened at the end of your semester that have impacted your learning and your GPA but you’re not going to get that money next fall,'” Tucker said.
Tucker said the change is only for this semester’s GPA and will not be ongoing. Most of the state’s colleges and universities have decided to finish their semester with online courses.
Also approved Friday, a moving of the application date of the state Higher Education needs-based grant from April 15 to May 15. Tucker said students are having trouble filling out the necessary forms because many of them don’t have access to their high school counselors.
There’s also a change for high school seniors applying for the Promise Scholarship. Tucker said they will be allowed to take the June SAT and the June or July ACT.
“We can extend that deadline so students can still get the Promise Scholarship,” Tucker said. “We know they have worked their entire high school career to get them and we don’t want to close that off just because ACT and SAT tests have been cancelled.”