CHARLESTON, W.Va. – House Speaker Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha, today reiterated that House leadership is committed to funding PROMISE Scholarships for the upcoming fiscal year.
The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission recently notified high school counselors that there would be a delay in PROMISE Scholarship award letters this year until the fiscal year 2017 budget bill is signed. The letter indicated education officials were confident the program would be funded in the coming year.
“We are absolutely committed to making sure the PROMISE Scholarship program is funded in next year’s budget,” Speaker Armstead said. “During these difficult economic times, it would be a horrible burden on our families to eliminate funding for this program that’s helped so many of our children attend college.
“While we have sought additional spending cuts to balance our projected $270 million-plus shortfall next year, House leadership has repeatedly stated that those cuts do not include critical programs, like PROMISE and the Public Employees Insurance Agency (PEIA),” Speaker Armstead said.
This is not the first time award letters for PROMISE Scholarships have been delayed. In 2009, when the Legislature and then-Gov. Joe Manchin delayed passage of the state budget until May 31 in order to get more information on federal stimulus funding, similar letters were sent to state school officials.
Armstead said that, just as in 2009, while these award letters will be delayed, the Legislature is fully committed to ensuring these scholarship funds are awarded to state students.
“It’s unfortunate that some are choosing to politicize these letters to pressure lawmakers into passing nearly $270 million in tax increases,” Speaker Armstead said. “House leadership is fully committed to finding a responsible solution to our budget situation – one which doesn’t place the entire burden on taxpayers, yet honors and fully funds our commitment to essential programs."