CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — The deadline is approaching for 2023 high school seniors who want to apply for the West Virginia Promise Scholarship and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The Promise Scholarship gives qualifying high school graduates annual awards of up to $5,000 for tuition and mandatory fees at in-state colleges and universities.

“Since Promise was established, more than 67,000 students from all 55 counties have been awarded nearly $850 million to attend college in West Virginia,” says Dr. Sarah Armstrong Tucker, West Virginia’s Chancellor of Higher Education.

To view eligibility requirements for the Promise, visit the website of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (HEPC).

HEPC says the FAFSA is a crucial step for high school seniors wanting to enroll in postsecondary education. The FAFSA is needed for the Promise Scholarship as well as the West Virginia Invests Grant and the West Virginia Higher Education Grant.

The FAFSA is free and can be filled out on the Federal Student Aid’s website.

“We are encouraging West Virginia’s current high school seniors to fill out the FAFSA to see what kind of financial aid they’re eligible for, and to complete the Promise application as soon as possible,” Dr. Armstrong says.

HEPC officials say they understand filing the FAFSA can be stressful. That is why students can visit West Virginia’s free college planning portal for help with the application. Students may also sign up for the “Txt 4 Success” program to get free text reminders of deadlines and tips.

“Now is the time for current seniors to join these ranks, and our office is here to support them along the way,” Dr. Armstrong says.

For additional help, students can call the state’s free financial aid hotline at (877) 987-7664 or send an email to HEPC.

The last day to apply for the Promise and the FAFSA is March 1.

Students can find more information about other financial aid programs in the state by visiting HEPC’s website.