Higher Education Policy Commission honors outgoing chair, approves temporary changes for Promise Scholarship and Higher Education Grant

CHARLESTON, WV – The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission today honored Huntington attorney Michael J. Farrell, Esq., who has served as the Commission’s chairman for the past four years. Andrew “Drew” Payne III, who has worked in the financial industry for more than 30 years, will succeed Farrell, who will now serve as vice chair. Diana Lewis Jackson, the founder, president and CEO of Action Facilities Management in Morgantown, will continue serving as secretary.

“Chairman Farrell is a true champion for our higher education system and students, advocating steadily for West Virginians to have affordable access to public postsecondary education, especially critical populations like first-generation college students and adult learners,” said Dr. Sarah Armstrong Tucker, West Virginia’s Chancellor for Higher Education. “I am tremendously grateful for his inspiring leadership, selfless service, and sound support as we have worked toward a shared goal of stronger public higher education for people across our state.”

“My tenure has been enhanced by the leadership of Chancellor Sarah Tucker and her excellent staff,” said Farrell. “They have solidified the dependence of the Executive and Legislative branches of state government on their analytical and policy development services. Under Dr. Tucker’s leadership, the college and university presidents have become more collaborative in their efforts to provide first class education. It has been a privilege to serve as chairman.”

Also today, to help students qualify for the merit-based Promise Scholarship and needs-based Higher Education Grant amid residual concerns stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Commission approved the following temporary changes:

  • For students in the high school graduating class of 2021: The standardized testing deadline to qualify for the Promise Scholarship has been extended from August 2021 to October 2021. Colleges and universities statewide are continuing to offer free ACT On-Campus exams; dates and times are posted at wvhepc.edu/act-on-campus-exams/.
  • For students in the high school graduating classes of 2021 and 2022: These students will now 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.
  • 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).
  • For students who received either the Higher Education Grant or the Promise Scholarship for 2020-21 and are renewing it for the 2021-22 award year: The grade point average required for renewal is waived for this upcoming award year only.

Additional information about the Promise Scholarship and Higher Education Grant are available at cfwv.com

The FAFSA – which is the first step to unlocking these and more funds for college – is available through the U.S. Department of Education at fafsa.gov