CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – West Virginia is now the first state in the nation to cover the cost of ACT testing for high school seniors applying for the Promise Scholarship. 

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice announced he is dedicating $341,000 in federal CARES Act funding to ACT testing opportunities for high school students because of the COVID-19 pandemic. These funds will allow students to take one free ACT On-Campus exam administered on a college campus in West Virginia.

“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.” 

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R)

The ACT exam usually costs $52.50 per student in a regular year. 

The COVID-19 pandemic caused national testing cancellations across the country in 2020, impacting thousands of high school seniors in West Virginia. 

The Promise Scholarship provides up to $4,750 per year to cover the cost of tuition and mandatory fees at in-state colleges and universities.

The Higher Education Policy Commission is working with colleges and universities across West Virginia to schedule safe, socially distanced ACT On-Campus testing dates. Testing dates will be announced on the official WV Higher Education Policy Commission website.

“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. 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.”

Sarah Armstrong Tucker, West Virginia’s Chancellor for Higher Education.

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 state’s free exams, colleges will score the tests and provide the results to the Commission, which will notify students of their eligibility for Promise.

Monday, March 1 is the deadline for current high school seniors to apply for the Promise Scholarship, but Commission officials are expected to meet to extend the application deadline. 

High school 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 on the College Foundation West Virginia. For assistance with applications, students and families are encouraged to call the state’s financial aid hotline at (877)-987-7664.