Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Fairmont State Caps Promise beyond Scholarship Program

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Fairmont State Caps Promise beyond Scholarship Program

Article excerpt

Declining state appropriations going to Fairmont State University prompted the school to restructure its Promise Beyond scholarship, a program meant to bridge the gap between the cost of tuition and fees and what the state's Promise Scholarship pays for, said Timothy Oxley, the school's interim vice president for student services. School officials estimate that the changes to the scholarship, which FSU's board of governors approved in December, will save the school $4.6 million over five years as the program continues to grow. From the program's launch in 2013 to now, it has grown from just fewer than 200 students to 558, a 190 percent increase.

"Even though it has been successful, if a little overwhelming, Oxley said. "If we look forward and we continue to grow, at what point can we no longer sustain the program, considering the situation with state appropriations? We thought, How can we craft the program so that it fulfills the purpose and is sustainable?'

The changes won't take effect until 2018, and the estimated savings are from then through 2023.

Under the new rules, administrators estimated that the program would cost nearly $3.3 million in the 2022-23 fiscal year. This estimate is based off the assumption that tuition will increase at Fairmont State University by 5 percent every year, the maximum amount a public college can increase their tuition without seeking approval from the state's Higher Education Policy Commission.

Full-time FSU students from West Virginia are paying $6,950 for tuition and general fees this year. With the Promise Scholarship paying $4,750 a year, the Promise Beyond program is a $2,200 award this year. As the cost of tuition increases, and if the Promise Scholarship amount didn't, the Promise Beyond program would grow increasingly expensive, Oxley said.

"These are not necessarily real dollars, Oxley said. …

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