West Virginia University marked the 15th anniversary of the PROMISE scholarship with a roundtable discussion and cake-cutting celebration Tuesday, Aug. 23.
“This semester alone, more than 3,100 PROMISE scholars are attending West Virginia University. These talented and hard-working students make our campus a better place,” said WVU President E. Gordon Gee.
Gee was joined by Bob Wise, former West Virginia governor and current president of the Alliance for Excellent Education, who signed the scholarship into law during his first year as governor. A number of current and former PROMISE recipients also participated in the event at WVU to mark this milestone anniversary.
The PROMISE Scholarship is a state-sponsored, merit-based scholarship program that enables eligible West Virginia residents to attend any public or private college or university within the state. According to the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, the scholarship program has distributed $548 million dollars to approximately 40,000 students since inception, and currently pays $4,750 per student, per year. Thirty-five hundred students who graduated from high school in 2016 are receiving a PROMISE scholarship to apply toward their college costs this fall.
“For fifteen years, the PROMISE scholarship has helped West Virginia students continue their education beyond high school—a critically important step for students and the West Virginia economy,” said Wise. “At one time in West Virginia, a high school diploma could get you a well-paying job, but in today’s modern information-based world, most high-paying jobs require additional education and training.”
One of Wise’s goals in advocating for PROMISE was to encourage state residents to stay in West Virginia after college. “I firmly believe that students who attend college in West Virginia are more likely to stay in state after graduation,” said Wise. “PROMISE was created to offer more students an opportunity to attend college without going into massive debt and hopefully, to put their education to use in West Virginia after they graduate.”
A recent study suggests PROMISE is encouraging scholarship recipients to stay in the state, with an estimated 80 percent of the PROMISE recipients from the 2003–04 school year working in the state in 2012. The impact has also led to increased enrollment at state colleges and universities.
“This scholarship is a promise we have made to our students, to help them succeed,” said Gee. “It is a promise we have made to our state, to strengthen its economy and our quality of life. And, if we care about West Virginia’s future and the future of our young people, it is a promise we must keep.”
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