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A scene on the downtown campus on March 24, 2021.

With scheduling for the fall semester currently underway, it’s important for students to stay on track with scholarship renewals and altered requirements.

The PROMISE Scholarship is a merit-based financial aid program for West Virginia residents, but recently, some in-state students have been having problems with the scholarship’s requirements. Advisors have told students that the requirements have changed, and 12-credit hours each semester need to be “degree-pursuant.”

According to Reed College of Media advisor Tricia Petty, the changes are not new but are just now starting to be enforced. 

Dominique Mick, an undergraduate advising specialist at WVU, said degree-pursuant courses mean the type of courses you need to get your degree, including University requirements, GEFs, major requirements and sometimes even general electives — depending on the program.

“This is not a ‘one size fits all’ situation,” Mick said. “Each student is different, and your first inquiry should be with your academic advisor.”

As stated on the College Foundation of West Virginia website, for a student to have the PROMISE Scholarship renewed each year, they must complete 30 credit hours in a 12-month period if they receive a two-semester award, or 15 credit hours if they receive a single semester award.

According to Jessica Tice, senior director of communications at the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (WVHEPC), this is not a WVHEPC or PROMISE Scholarship change, but it’s a conflict between federal and state financial aid requirements.

“We don’t want students to panic,” Tice said in an email. “We are working to remedy the situation so that students can continue receiving the state aid they have earned and deserve.”

To be eligible, students must have resided in West Virginia continuously for 12 consecutive months preceding the PROMISE Scholarship deadline, unless they are a member of armed services or a military dependent under Section 6 of the PROMISE Scholarship Program Rule

Tice said if students have questions about their eligibility for specific state financial aid, including the PROMISE Scholarship, they can contact WVHEPC at promise@wvhepc.edu or at 877-987-7664.

Through the scholarship, eligible high school graduates may receive annual awards up to $4,750 to cover the cost of tuition and mandatory fees at public or independent institutions in West Virginia. Awards are contingent upon annual funding from the program by the West Virginia State Legislature.