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HEPC: PROMISE scholarship, higher ed grants on pace despite pandemic

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Thousands of Mountain State college students have already qualified for PROMISE scholarships for the upcoming academic year even though testing deadlines have been pushed back into the fall because of the coronavirus pandemic.

As of Tuesday, information from the Higher Education Policy Commission indicated 3,099 students had been determined to be eligible for PROMISE scholarships, merit-based financial aid, for 2020-2021.

That number was described as “a little bit low” compared with last year.

However, ACT scores, a scholarship requirement, had yet to come in from June and July at that point.

Last year, PROMISE scholars totaled 3,640 at the end of July.

Students still needing to take standardized tests could register to do so at any national testing site before the end of October to qualify for the PROMISE.

Additionally, on-campus ACTs were planned at colleges and universities across West Virginia this fall to provide PROMISE scholars another testing opportunity.

More information on that was posted HERE.

Because the on-campus ACT tests were for institutional use only, students doing the on-campus testing were being told to register with the schools they would be attending for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Separately, the HEPC reported 25,482 students had been awarded grants through the Higher Education Grant Program, needs-based financial aid, as of Tuesday morning.

There were two more award cycles scheduled at the end of July and October.

The year, the grant application deadline was postponed from Apr. 15 to May 15.

After the July and October cycles last year, 28,425 grants had been awarded, according to HEPC.

More than 4,000 applications were being processed for WV Invests, the last-dollar-in tuition grant program for students pursuing associate degrees in certain subject areas.

GPA requirements for WV Invests renewal were previously suspended along with those for other financial aid programs.

In March, members of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission and the Council for Community and Technical Education made a number changes to give students more flexibility with state financial aid programs because of COVID-19.

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