Four out of five Promise Scholar Graduates are now staying in West Virginia either in the workforce or pursuing graduate studies including medicine and law. There was a time not so long ago that I can remember that the goal of many young people was to leave our state because they did not believe they had a future here. I am proud to say that is changing.
We are educating these students for the jobs of the 21st Century and are doing so by rewarding merit and accomplishment in them. And besides creating a solid path for our young people to go to college, we have seen our high school students study harder and increase test scores.
Many recent college graduates start their new careers laden with huge burdens of student loans because their families cannot afford to pay the annually increasing tuition of our higher education. But these Promise Scholars don't carry that same burden. They can take the hundreds of dollars each month they are saving to put into a new home or start a business.
Our meager investment (just one third of only one percent of the entire state's budget) is paying off huge dividends for both our students and our state. Recent studies about Promise have been misleading by not taking into account the number of graduates of the scholarship that are continuing their education. I am one who is proud to know that this great experiment in West Virginia's young people is not only working, but working very well.
State Sen. Mike Oliverio