CHARLESTON, W.Va. — High school seniors in West Virginia still hoping to qualify for the Promise Scholarship are being given some additional time and options by the state Higher Education Policy Commission.
The HEPC approved an extension Friday of the qualification deadline for the merit-based scholarship program to October.
State Higher Education Interim Chancellor Dr. Sarah Armstrong Tucker said the extension comes because ACT and SAT tests continue to be postponed because of COVID-19.The next tests aren’t scheduled until August and September. Tucker said there are approximately 150 high school seniors in West Virginia that still need higher tests scores to qualify for Promise.
“We’re trying to find every opportunity we can to be flexible with our students, our institutions, to try and get us through all of this,” Tucker told MetroNews Friday.
The commission also approved an option for students to replace their ACT and SAT scores with scores they earn in residual tests given in the summer on college campuses. The tests are the same as an ACT or SAT.
“Those typically have not been allowed to be counted towards Promise eligibility but given the uncertain times we want to give our students every opportunity they can possibly have,” Tucker said.
But college campuses would have to reopen, they are closed now, for those tests to be given. Tucker said she’s hopeful the campuses will open at some point during the next few months. She said the HEPC will get the word out when the residual tests are given.
What if campuses don’t reopen this summer?
“We’re going to have to cross that bridge when we come to it,” Tucker said. “That’s sort of been the name of the game for higher ed for the past six weeks. We have so many unknowns.”
Tucker said some have asked the HEPC to waive test scores or reduce the required scores. She said that would difficult to do because there’s only a finite amount of money for the Promise.
“Even lowering the ACT or SAT test score by one point would mean that we would need millions of dollars more in Promise and we just don’t have that money right now,” she said.
A few thousand West Virginia seniors have already qualified for the Promise Scholarship and are good for the fall semester but Tucker believes about 150 other applicants are in need of the required 22 composite on the ACT with a minimum of 20 in English, math, science, and reading and an 1100 total score on the SAT with a minimum of 520 in math, and 530 in evidence-based reading and writing.
Other key information released by the HEPC Friday in connection with test scores and scholarship programs included:
–those students who are able to take the ACT or SAT before the new October deadline should enter the code 4539 when taking the ACT, and 3456 for the SAT so scores will be returned quickly.
–for students already receiving PROMISE, the West Virginia Higher Education Grant, the Underwood-Smith Teacher Scholarship, or the Engineering, Science & Technology Scholarship, the GPA requirements to renew the awards from 2019-20 to 2020-21 have been suspended.
–for students already receiving the West Virginia Invests Grant for associate degrees, the community service requirement for spring 2020 awards and GPA requirements to renew the grant for the 2020-21 academic year have been suspended.
for students applying for the Higher Education Grant, the state’s need-based financial aid program, the application deadline has been extended to May 15, 2020.