Justice declares education state of emergency, waives FAFSA requirement for student aid

CHARLESTON, WV (WOAY) – Governor Jim Justice has declared a state of emergency for education in West Virginia, temporarily opening up state financial aid to students regardless of their application for federal aid.

It’s in response to the federal Department of Education’s revamped Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Justice said the new application has had significant issues.

His office said that 40 percent fewer students have completed the application this year.

While the issues are being fixed, West Virginia students can apply for state aid regardless of their federal application status.

Justice said it’s a step that needed to be taken.

“Our state higher education office has been on top of this problem from the beginning. They’ve done more than 200 FAFSA workshops across the state and ramped up their outreach in every way imaginable,” Justice said. “But there’s only so much outreach you can do when students can’t complete the form due to issues only the federal government can control. We have been left with no choice but to suspend the FAFSA requirement for our state financial aid programs, including the Promise Scholarship and the Higher Education Grant Program.”

The state has several scholarship and financial aid options. The West Virginia Promise Scholarship offers $5,500 to students who meet eligibility requirements.

Those requirements include living in West Virginia for twelve consecutive months and achieving a GPA of at least 3.0.

The state is also offering a need-based grant of $3,400 for the fall semester. If you have not filled out the FAFSA, you can apply with last year’s form or an eligibility letter from the Department of Human Services and Department of Health.

For more information, go to www.collegeforwv.com/ or 877-987-7664.

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