CHARLESTON — Thanks to an initiative by The Education Alliance, in collaboration with the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, current high school seniors who fill out a Promise Scholarship application and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid will be enrolled in a contest, “Cool Cash for College.”
Seniors who complete both of these steps by March 1, will be entered into drawings for prizes that include Apple AirPods, wireless printers, mini refrigerators and gift cards.
“We know our seniors are grappling every day with uncertainties around attending school in person, keeping up good grades in a virtual environment and staying healthy and safe,” said Sarah Armstrong Tucker, West Virginia’s Higher Education chancellor. “This is a lot to deal with, but we have to encourage our young people to not lose sight of their futures. Now is the time to complete the FAFSA, fill out the Promise Scholarship application, and plan for what’s next. We thank The Education Alliance for making this contest possible, and for working so closely with us and the West Virginia Department of Education to help our students to stay on track for college.”
At this time last year, more than 7,200 high school seniors had filled out Promise applications; earlier this month, more than 2,700 seniors had completed the application — a difference of more than 4,500. More than 5,300 seniors had completed the FAFSA at this time last year, compared to just over 3,600 so far this year.
“The dramatic decrease in student applications could have terrible repercussions for our most vulnerable students and cause them to miss out on valuable financial aid for college next fall,” said Amelia Courts, president/CEO of The Education Alliance. “To combat this … The Education Alliance is proud to launch the ‘Cool Cash for College Contest’ to motivate and excite high school seniors to apply for Promise, fill out the FAFSA, and be eligible to receive these exciting prizes. This is a ‘must-win’ situation, and it will take all of us working together to help our students succeed.”
Drawings among seniors who have completed the Promise application and FAFSA are set for Jan. 12, Feb. 16 and March 2. The Promise Scholarship application is due by March 1, and students have until Aug. 31 to earn qualifying ACT or SAT test scores.
Since August 2019, The Education Alliance has been partnering with the National College Attainment Network to build a West Virginia Statewide College Access Network. This group includes stakeholders from across the state in K12, higher education, and public and private organizations partnering to significantly increase the number of West Virginians who obtain training and education beyond high school, particularly those who otherwise lack equitable access.
For more information about the contest, visit http://educationalliance.org/contest/.
The FAFSA is free and available through the U.S. Department of Education at fafsa.gov. The Promise Scholarship application is available at cfwv.com/ promise.
For assistance with applications, students and families are encouraged to call the state’s financial aid hotline at 1-877-987-7664. Students are also encouraged to sign up for West Virginia’s text-message college counseling program, “Txt 4 Success,” by visiting http://www.cfwvconnect.com/ txt-4-success/.