Ashton Marra Published

PROMISE Scholars to Wait for Award Letters Until Budget Finalized


High school counselors across the state have been notified that recipients of the PROMISE scholarship won’t receive their award letters until after the state has a budget for next year.

The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission sent a letter to high school counselors May 2 explaining why they have decided to hold PROMISE award letters this year.

The letter says without a budget in place for the 2017 fiscal year, the HEPC cannot guarantee the scholarship money. But HEPC spokeswoman Jessica Tice says the commission is very optimistic lawmakers will include the scholarship funding in the upcoming budget.

Tice says just over 10,000 students received the PROMISE scholarship this past fall. She says changes in funding to the program would affect not only upcoming and future possible recipients, but also those currently receiving the scholarship.

Lawmakers cannot change the eligibility requirement for the program unless Gov. Tomblin specifically puts the PROMISE scholarship on the call for the special budget session that will begin Monday. The Legislature can, however, reduce the funding for the program which means fewer students would receive the scholarship.

Tomblin and legislative leaders have been negotiating a budget deal since mid-March and have yet to come to a widespread agreement, but a Tomblin spokesman said Monday the governor will bring lawmakers back to town May 16 because of the uncertainty caused by not having a budget in place.