Governor Jim Justice recently announced that he is dedicating $341,000 in federal CARES Act funding to provide free ACT testing opportunities for high school seniors applying for the Promise Scholarship, making West Virginia the first state in the nation to cover these costs for students because of the COVID-19 emergency. National testing dates were canceled across the country throughout last year, impacting thousands of high school seniors in our state who have been working to qualify for Promise. Through this state-sponsored effort, a student will be able to take one free exam administered on a college campus in West Virginia. We are working with colleges and universities across the state to schedule safe, socially distanced, ACT On-Campus testing dates, which are being posted here as they are finalized.



Do I have to apply for the Promise Scholarship to access a free exam, or can I use my score to apply for another scholarship?

The state’s new initiative to cover the costs of ACT On-Campus exams applies to 2021 high school seniors who have applied or are applying for the merit-based Promise Scholarship and do not have a qualifying ACT or SAT test score for Promise. Exam scores cannot be used when applying for a separate scholarship.

Can I take the exam at any college, even if I don’t plan to attend that college?

Yes, but your score can only be used for determining your eligibility for the Promise Scholarship. Once eligible for Promise, you can use the scholarship at any in-state college or university.

Where and when will the free exams be held? How will I register? 

The exams are being held at public four-year and two-year higher education institutions across the state. The Higher Education Policy Commission continues working with campuses to set up dates and times, which are posted on this page as they are finalized. Registration is set up through the individual institutions.

Is there a difference between the ACT On-Campus Exam and the National ACT exam?

The ACT On-Campus test is an expedited alternative to the National ACT test that allows colleges to proctor and score exams on their campuses, rather than going through ACT. The ACT On-Campus exam is formatted the same as a National ACT exam. However, unlike the National ACT exam results, the On-Campus test results can only be used at the institution where the exam is proctored for admissions purposes and for 2021 Promise Scholarship consideration. ACT On-Campus test results cannot be used or shared with other institutions.

How quickly will I find out my score?  

Once you take a free ACT On-Campus exam offered by the state, colleges will score the tests and automatically provide the results to the Higher Education Policy Commission for Promise Scholarship consideration. The Commission will notify students of their eligibility for Promise as quickly as possible. Applicants must meet all eligibility requirements to qualify.

When do I need to earn a qualifying exam score to be eligible for Promise this fall?

Applicants have until the end of October to earn a qualifying test score on either the ACT or SAT. Only one eligible score is required on either test, not both. For students in the high school graduating class of 2021 receiving the Promise Scholarship for the first time in 2021-22, the test score requirements have been lowered as follows:

  • ACT composite score – 21 (regularly 22); ACT English score – 19 (regularly 20); ACT Reading score – 19 (regularly 20); ACT Science score – 19 (regularly 20); ACT Math score – 19 (regularly 20).
  • SAT composite score – 1080 (regularly 1100); SAT Evidenced-Based Reading and Writing score – 510 (regularly 530); SAT Math score – 510 (regularly 520).

Students in the high school graduating classes of 2021 and 2022 now also qualify for super-scoring to achieve the minimum standardized testing scores necessary to qualify for the Promise Scholarship. This allows students to take their top scores from sub-sections of different ACT or SAT tests they’ve taken and combine them for a higher overall score.

Are SAT exams being offered as well?

Applicants can use either the ACT or SAT to qualify for the Promise Scholarship, however, the state's plan to pay for a standardized test only applies to the ACT On-Campus test.

Is the state extending the deadline for Promise applications? When will that new deadline be?

The Higher Education Policy Commission has approved a deadline extension for Promise; the application and FAFSA are now due by July 1, 2021.

Where do I find the Promise requirements and application?

The 2021 Promise application, requirements, and details about the scholarship are available at cfwv.com/promise. Both the 2021 Promise Scholarship application and 2021-2022 FAFSA need to be completed for a student to be considered. The FAFSA is free and available at https://studentaid.gov/h/apply-for-aid/fafsa.

I have additional questions. Is there a number I can call?

For assistance, students and families are encouraged to call the state’s financial aid hotline at 877-987-7664. Students are also encouraged to sign up for West Virginia’s text-message college counseling program, “Txt 4 Success,” by visiting http://www.cfwvconnect.com/txt-4-success/.