CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- About 200 fewer first time PROMISE scholarship recipients enrolled at West Virginia's colleges and universities this fall as the number declined to 3,104, the lowest level in four years, Higher Education Policy Commission data show.The total number of PROMISE students also declined, by about 50, to 9,679.Commission Chancellor Paul Hill said several factors contributed to the decline. They include the total number of high school seniors, high school graduation rates, college-going rates and academic preparedness.Hill said the numbers of students who qualify for the scholarship and keep it have been relatively stable during the last five years.The number of PROMISE students attending West Virginia University declined by about 100 to 4,296.
The University of Charleston, Wheeling Jesuit University and Mountain State University, which will close in December, also saw declines.Marshall University saw an increase in the number of recipients, from 1,646 to 1,779.The scholarship pays $4,750 of tuition for in-state students who maintained a B average in high school and scored at least a 22 composite on the ACT. Students must maintain a 3.0 average in college to keep the scholarship.State officials capped the scholarship in 2010 to reduce the program's costs.Students awarded the scholarship before it was capped still receive the full price of tuition at any public university in the state. This is the final year in which a class of PROMISE recipients is receiving full tuition.The average in-state tuition cost at a public university in West Virginia is $5,459.