CHARLESTON, W.Va. — More high school seniors have applied for West Virginia’s PROMISE Scholarship this year compared to last year, according to the state Higher Education Policy Commission.

“As of March 1, we had 11,791 students that filled out the PROMISE application, which is a little increase from over the last year. We had around 11,400 sign up.” said Brian Weingart, financial aid director for the HEPC.

PROMISE is a merit based state scholarship that high school seniors can apply for based on academics.

“They can get up to $4,750,” Weingart said that would be used to attend a two or four-year public or independent college or university in the state.

The application requires a student to have a 3.0 grade point average and score at least a 22 on the ACT exam or a 1020 combined reading/math SAT score with required minimum sub-scores in each section by the June 2016 testing dates.

The deadline to apply was Mar. 1. Along with the application, students also filled out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

Weingart said it’s important to assist students financially as they prepare to enter college.

“We see the cost of college going up and so any time you can get a scholarship especially in the amount of $4,750 that can really help offset the costs and make higher education affordable for students to continue their education,” he said.

The HEPC should receive grades from the state Department of Education within the next several weeks. Weingart said they will be notifying students mid-April about their award.

For more information, visit the College Foundation of West Virginia’s website.