The official state anthem of West Virginia, released in 1971 by folk singer John Denver, refers to the state as “almost heaven.” Denver’s musings in “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” regard the sweeping landscapes and beautiful natural wonder of the Mountaineer State, but also tell a subtext of a state that is full of salt-of-the-earth people, living in tight-knit communities and providing a lift up for those that may need it.
In this tradition, the students of West Virginia have plenty of hands extended towards them, aiming to pull them up and help them on their way to a degree. Some options for students include:
Deadline: TBD for 2021
West Virginia’s PROMISE program, with the backronym “Providing Real Opportunities for Maximizing In-State Student Excellence,” has existed in some form since 2001. The program encourages students that demonstrate academic excellence to attend school within the state borders, at either a public state school or an independent institution.
Unlike similar scholarships offered by other states, the PROMISE program does not take into account the student’s financial standing, focusing solely on academic and personal achievement. To be eligible, students must submit their SAT and ACT scores, as well as describe any community service experience they have.
Deadline: TBD for 2021-2022
The West Virginia Engineering, Science & Technology Scholarship Program supports West Virginia students who want to study in a STEM field. To that end, the program offers a $3,000 award to help students cover their tuition costs and other fees. Additionally, the program expects students to pursue a career within West Virginia.
To qualify, students must have at least a 3.0 GPA, plan on enrolling or currently enrolled in college majoring in a relevant field, and commit to working in the state for every year they receive the scholarship.
Deadline: March 31, 2020
The Air & Waste Management Association, a national research foundation, lists its mission statement as “Promoting a better understanding of problems in the fields of air and water pollution and waste management and providing a means for exchanging information towards resolving those problems.”
The foundation’s successful Allegheny Mountain chapter, in an effort to generate interest in the business of environment, established a scholarship for West Virginia students headed towards a career in environmental science, engineering or law. Awards are distributed based on merit, which includes academic record, plan of study, as well as “maturity level.”
The Kanawha Valley generally refers to an area in southern West Virginia spliced by the Kanawha River, home to cities such as Charleston and Point Pleasant. To help local families and further the goals of the community, The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation was established in 1962.
Over 90 specific scholarships are available, and students are encouraged to contact the foundation directly or visit its website to find out more.
Deadline: June 1, 2020
The West Virginia Center for Nursing Scholarship Programs provides a variety of scholarships for nursing students currently studying in the state. Students interested in these scholarships must commit to working in the state after finishing their education, per year they received the scholarship. Each award has different requirements, so take a look at the website for more details.
Deadline: June 30
LGBT students in West Virginia should definitely apply for the Womack scholarship, which offers a prize of $1000 to the student that wins their annual essay contest. The essay, capped at around five pages, concentrates on the student’s background, their academic and personal achievements, as well as their goals for the future. To the victor goes a monetary prize applicable to “any institute of higher learning in the United States.”
Deadline: April 15, 2020
Similar to programs offered in other states, the Higher Education Grant program offers an opportunity for underprivileged and underfunded high school seniors to continue their education at an institution of higher learning. Unlike other programs, however, students are not limited to in-state schools and are offered the option of attending college in Pennsylvania in addition to West Virginia.
To be eligible, students must be West Virginia residents for a year prior to application, demonstrate financial need via the FAFSA form, and “possess academic promise.”