Opinion

W.Va. should keep its promise to students

An editorial from The Exponent Telegram

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — Under the cloud of $300-plus million state deficits projected in FY 2016-2017, state and education officials met Tuesday to discuss the PROMISE Scholarship, West Virginia’s merit-based scholarship program for in-state students.

Of course, some legislators want to redirect those funds elsewhere. Despite the fact that state residents voted at the polls to expand gambling in the form of the video lottery, the PROMISE Scholarship was the primary carrot offered to state residents at the time to make it happen.

The financial aid program provides scholarship funds that currently cover more than 85 percent of state college tuition and fees (with similar dollars toward in-state private colleges as well) for West Virginia high school students who qualify for the award.

The PROMISE Scholarship has been altered twice since it was first introduced in 2001 in an effort to keep costs related to the state-funded program down.

First, the qualifications were raised — namely, the required ACT score. Then the award was capped at a dollar amount less than the full cost to attend most institutions.

The Charleston Daily Mail reported that during a panel on the PROMISE hosted by Generation Charleston, education officials argued that the Legislature and West Virginians should prioritize the program in coming years. They want it to be maintained without further cuts, if not restored to the more robust version of years past.

We couldn’t agree more. State government should keep the PROMISE as it was originally intended…

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