West Virginia has seen a steady increase in high school graduation rates since 2011, especially amongst minority students.
West Viriginia Scholarships
While you might love West Virginia for its rugged scenery and song references by John Denver, there’s plenty more to get excited about when it comes to education. In fact, West Virginia scores well above the national average when it comes to high school graduates of color. For example, the graduation rate for American Indians or Alaska Natives is 87% in West Virginia compared to the national average of 73.5%. That’s definitely a step in the right direction!
As far as college life, the biggest names in West Virginia are West Virginia University, Marshall University, and Davis & Elkins College. West Virginia University offers hundreds of degrees, from bachelor’s to master’s. West Virginia students can explore other cities on the weekends, like Pittsburgh and Cleveland. Out of the three, Davis & Elkins is a private college with a tiny student population of under a thousand students! If you like smaller class sizes, that’s the school for you. However, if you’re a West Virginia high school student worried about affording tuition this fall, here are some scholarships that could help:
Eligibility: must be a resident of West Virginia, identify as gay or lesbian, currently an undergraduate student or high school senior
Description: The IanThom Foundation awards three separate scholarships to students in West Virginia and Alabama in memory of David Womack. The scholarship is meant for a West Virginia resident who is “attending at any institute of higher learning in the United States.” The application requires an essay of no more than five pages that discusses your background, educational history, goals for the future, and why you believe you should receive the scholarship. Proof of acceptance or attendance at college is also required. Take the time to review David Womack’s story; memorial scholarship committees are willing to take the time to sift through your essays and background to see if you’ll truly honor the person’s memory. This could be a great opportunity to pay for college and give such a big loss more meaning.
Eligibility: Citizen of the United States, West Virginia residency for at least 12 months prior to date of application, be a high school graduate or have earned a TASC (former GED) or high school equivalent certificate, demonstrate an established level of financial need, demonstrate academic promise, Enroll at a participating institution in West Virginia or Pennsylvania as a full-time undergraduate student, Have not previously earned a bachelor's degree
Description: The West Virginia Higher Education Grant is available to apply for through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). There’s no separate application process; just file your FAFSA on time to be considered for the grant. The grant is good for any approved institution in West Virginia or Pennsylvania. Check out the link on their website to check that your institution is covered!
Eligibility: Be a resident of one of 15 participating SREB states (including West Virginia). Select a program eligible for residents of your home state, complete admission process at the institution that offers the program, be a certified resident of your home state by contacting your state’s ACM coordinator
Description: While the SREB Academic Common Market doesn’t look like a traditional scholarship provider, it is made for students “who want to pursue degrees that are not offered by their in-state institutions.” The Academic Common Market claims that the program isn’t “competitive or merit-based,” but they do require that you meet state residency and college program requirements. Ultimately, this platform helps you pay in-state tuition rates if the degree program you’re looking for isn’t at any colleges or universities in your home state. To apply, you just have to be certified by your home state’s designated agency, confirm that the degree program you’re looking for isn’t in your home state, and submit required documentation to verify your state residency.
Eligibility: Resident of West Virginia, must be a successful completer and have received a signed high school equivalency diploma, must be a full-time student, must complete twelve or more semester hours and maintain a 2.0 grade point average to be eligible for the second semester payment, must complete and submit FAFSA
Description: The West Virginia High School Equivalency Diploma Scholarship application includes a form about your past experience with schooling and general identification information. The bulk of the work for this application includes writing a short autobiography in which you must describe your educational journey up to this point. Prompts to address include why you decided to work toward your high school equivalency diploma and your future plans. The scholarship is funded through West Virginia’s Department of Education, so any identifying information they request (like your Social Security Number) is for legitimate eligibility reasons.
Just like the West Virginia Higher Education Grant, there are many scholarships and ways to fund college if you just file your FAFSA on time. Don’t put it off until the last minute. Make sure you have the deadline down and get it done!
Are you feeling stressed about applying to a bunch of different scholarships with no guarantee that you’ll be awarded any of them? Every college student feels that stress at some point, whether you’re in West Virginia or across the country. Luckily, there are tools to help you out! Rather than searching through scholarship websites and catalogues for scholarships specific to West Virginia students, invest in the 5 Day Scholarship Accelerator! This site is invaluable in making your scholarship search more efficient, profitable, and generally more stress-free. Experts advise you on what scholarship committees are looking for; videos walk you through the process of gathering materials and searching for dozens of scholarships at a time.
Christen is the founder of Hive Education. She is passionate about helping families navigate the college application and admissions processes. She helps students set goals to work towards their own debt-free degrees with her personalized scholarship searches, scholarship courses, and by sharing her scholarship strategies that won her over $900,000 in for her own college education. With four years of experience in higher education, two years working with teens in inner city high schools in New Orleans, and starting her first college consulting company during a pandemic in 2020 she strives to make college accessible for everyone, especially for first generation, low income, and minority students. In her spare time she loves to share her love for books with her daughters. You can find her on Facebook.
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Our mission is to educate, collaborate, and celebrate with college bound undergraduate families navigating the admissions process. We believe that by empowering students to take responsibility for achieving their academic goals we can emphasize the importance of being able to afford the education of their dreams while utilizing scholarships to cover much, if not all, of the cost of tuition.