From the Governor’s Desk: A promise that is paying off

Like so many West Virginians, Crystin Povenski and her siblings were raised by parents who instilled in them the importance of hard work and the value of learning. She worked hard and, as a result of her good grades in high school and commitment to attending college in the Mountain State, she received a PROMISE Scholarship.

After earning her degree from West Virginia University (WVU), Crystin was determined to begin her career in the state she loves. She said it was important for her to exhaust all job search efforts in West Virginia before considering looking elsewhere. Crystin reached her goal and now works in the Chemistry Department at WVU.

Crystin’s story is one being echoed across our state. The WVU Bureau of Business and Economic Research recently released a report, requested by the Higher Education Policy Commission, which found that PROMISE graduates exhibit significantly higher workforce participation rates in West Virginia compared to overall graduates.

In fact, this study found 80 percent of PROMISE recipients who graduated in 2003-04, among the first students to receive the scholarship, were working in the state in 2012. This is outstanding and shows our investments in our young people are paying off – for our dedicated students and for our state.

Since the program started, more than $400 million has been provided to more than 35,000 West Virginia students from throughout all 55 counties to attend an eligible West Virginia institution. PROMISE students have attended every public two-year, public four-year and independent non-profit institution in West Virginia.

We already knew receiving a PROMISE Scholarship increases a student’s likelihood of completing their college education, and now we know these students are increasingly more likely to stay here and give back to their home state.

We also know PROMISE Scholars are heavily invested in their communities even while working toward their degrees. On average, these students work 10 hours per week at paid jobs, and a 2011 study found that 90 percent of PROMISE recipients had performed community service throughout our state.

The PROMISE Scholarship is an inspiring success story – and a path to a bright future in the Mountain State. If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about PROMISE or attending college in West Virginia, I encourage you to visit, our state’s free college- and career-planning website.