Governor Justice dedicates funding to provide free ACT testing opportunities for high school seniors applying for Promise Scholarship

CHARLESTON, WV – Governor Jim Justice today 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. Through this state-sponsored effort, a student will be able to take one free ACT On-Campus exam administered on a college campus in West Virginia.

In a normal year, high school seniors register to take the ACT exam at a national testing center, typically held at a local high school or college, and pay $52.50 for each exam. Because of the pandemic, national testing dates were canceled across the country throughout last year. This impacted thousands of high school seniors in West Virginia who have been working to qualify for the merit-based Promise Scholarship, which provides up to $4,750 per year to cover the cost of tuition and mandatory fees at in-state colleges and universities.

“I am incredibly honored to be able to allocate this funding and make West Virginia the first state in the nation to cover these testing costs for our high school seniors,” Gov. Justice said. “I thank Chancellor Tucker and the entire West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission for also working quickly on my request to extend the Promise Scholarship application deadline. We want our next generation of leaders in this great state to have every opportunity in the world to continue their education beyond high school in one of our world-class higher education institutions.”

Following today’s testing announcement, the Higher Education Policy Commission is working with colleges and universities across the state to schedule safe, socially distanced, ACT On-Campus testing dates, which will be announced and posted at as they are finalized. The ACT On-Campus test is an alternative to the national test that allows colleges to proctor and score exams on their campuses. Once West Virginia students take the free exams offered by the state, colleges will score the tests and provide the results to the Commission, which will notify students of their eligibility for Promise.

“We are tremendously grateful for Governor Justice’s leadership in making this opportunity possible for West Virginia’s high school seniors, and we are so proud to be the first state in the nation to provide this kind of support,” said Sarah Armstrong Tucker, West Virginia’s Chancellor for Higher Education. “Students have faced so much in the past year, and they simply haven’t had the chance to earn the test scores needed to qualify for Promise. We encourage seniors to take full advantage of these free testing dates as they are announced – and to stay focused on continuing their education after high school.”

Today, March 1, is the deadline for current high school seniors to apply for the Promise Scholarship; however, with application numbers down 30 percent compared to this time last year, the Commission is expected to meet soon to extend the application deadline. Seniors have until the end of August to earn qualifying ACT or SAT test scores to begin using the Promise Scholarship this fall.

The Promise application is available at For assistance with applications, 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