PROMISE Scholarship Recipients More Likely to Stay - Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

PROMISE Scholarship Recipients More Likely to Stay

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Currently there are around 10,000 college students attending West Virginia colleges and universities on a PROMISE Scholarship.

Many of them will give back to the state after graduation, that's according to new research.

A study from WVU's Bureau of Business and Economic research finds that students on the PROMISE scholarship are more likely to stay and work in West Virginia, helping avoid what researchers call "Brain Drain."

"We want to keep our college and university graduates in the state," said Dr. John Deskins, director of WVU's BBER. "We don't want to suffer the brain drain problem. We don't want our young talented men and women to go to others states for work. We want to keep them here and if we find something that keeps them here, it seems like we should pursue that route."

Research finds that 48 percent of all students attending West Virginia schools stay in state after graduation, and just 43 percent who earn a bachelor's degree will stay. The same study finds that 60 percent of PROMISE recipients will stay.

Freshman Heather Lewis plans to be one of them.

"I like the schools here, I volunteer at Eastwood (Elementary) the new green school. And I went through three schools here," she said. "My fourth grade teacher is the reason I want to be a teacher... Those good teachers is what makes me want to pursue college, and pursue a life in teaching."

PROMISE recipients must live in West Virginia, graduate high school with a B average and meet other various academic requirements.

Lewis says she was excited when she earned her scholarship.

"I have to pay for my college," she said. "That extra almost $4,000 really helps. It pays for most of my tuition and with the other grants I have my tuition is paid for."

John Deskins said the trend was one of the more eye catching results of the study, but adds that more research in necessary to determine if PROMISE is the lone cause of higher retention.

"This research doesn't necessarily determine causality, but if we can use PROMISE to keep people in the state, than it has to be a good thing and it's something we have to look into further," he said.

March 1, is the deadline to apply for PROMISE. You learn more about the scholarship at the College Foundation of West Virginia's web site.