ACF Position Statement on PROMISE (#1)

The Advisory Council of Faculty for the State of West Virginia Higher Education supports full-funding of the PROMISE scholarship, without any kind of tuition-increase limits being imposed on institutions servicing PROMISE scholars.

PROMISE represents an essential and important investment in the economic well-being of West Virginia; its growth attests to the success of the program. PROMISE also provides an extraordinary incentive for students to achieve academic excellence. In order to receive the PROMISE scholarship, students must maintain a 3.0 GPA and achieve an ACT score of 21 or a SAT score of 1000. In 1989 only 42 percent of high school graduates attended college; today 59.4 percent go on to work for a baccalaureate degree. More students are opting to remain in the state rather than leave for their higher education experience, thus increasing the possibility of their remaining in the state after graduation.

In 2001, when the PROMISE scholarship was established as the principal argument for state sanctioned video lottery, $27 million was set aside from the lottery for this immensely successful educational program. While projected costs of PROMISE have grown today to $41 million, indicating that more students are both meeting the standards and opting to remain in the state for their post-public school education, the $27 million originally determined to come from lottery funds has not risen proportionally. On the other hand, video lottery revenues have risen by 115 percent and are projected to rise to $141.8 million by the end of the 2006 fiscal year. It is thus reasonable to assume that paying for the additional costs of PROMISE would come from video lottery profits. This funding source is particularly appropriate as it has been necessary to raise tuition at most state institutions in order to off-set the decrease in state funding of higher education.

Economic development in West Virginia is dependent upon providing companies and businesses with a highly educated, versatile, and sophisticated workforce. This highly educated workforce is dependent upon a robust and fully supported system of higher education.

Posted February 27, 2006