Many graduating high school seniors in West Virginia plan to seek higher education at a college or university in their home state. As a result, researching financial aid opportunities like West Virginia scholarships can be critical because many students are in financial need. These scholarships are typically only available to West Virginia students, making them exclusive and less competitive opportunities for students to receive funding for college.
Though the average student loan debt held in West Virginia is lower than the national average, West Virginia students continue to be affected by the rising costs of college.
West Virginia residents collectively hold $7.2 billion in unpaid student loan debt, distributed among 227,200 student borrowers that live across the state. The average amount a resident with debt holds is $31,690. Most borrowers in West Virginia tend to be on the younger side, as 50.3% of borrowers are 35 years old or younger. The average monthly payment a West Virginia borrower makes towards their student debts is $249.
Out of all residents of the state, 12.7% have student loan debt. Among residents that have student loan debt, just 17.9% owe less than $5,000. 21% of West Virginia borrowers owe between $20,000 and $40,000, and 1.3% owe above $200,000.
There are many popular accredited institutions in West Virginia. Schools like West Virginia University and Marshall University attract hundreds of students each year.
West Virginia University, a public school, had a total of 21,086 students enrolled as of the 2019-2020 academic year. The cost of tuition and fees to in-state students is $8,976, while out-of-state students will need to pay $25,320. Room and board, not included in the tuition fees, is around $11,000 for both in-state and out-of-state students. The median starting salary of a West Virginia graduate is $53,800.
Marshall University also offers hefty discounts for in-state students. The in-state tuition cost is $8,552, while out-of-state tuition of $19,606. The undergraduate enrollment in the 2020 fall semester was 8,771.
The median starting salary for a graduate of Marshall University is slightly lower than the starting salary of a West Virginia University graduate at $43,100 per year. 68% of full-time undergraduate students at Marshall University receive at least some need-based financial aid. The typical amount of need-based financial aid awarded to a student is $6,877.
West Virginia is home to a variety of students who come from different backgrounds and pursue different goals.
At West Virginia University, there are 12,582 male students and 13,687 female students. In percentages, this means 47.9% of the student body is male and 52.1% are female. Of the total undergraduate and graduate enrollment of 26,269 students, 22,942 are enrolled full-time, with 3,327 students choosing to enroll part-time instead.
Most students at West Virginia University are white, with a majority of 84.6%. Hispanic students represent the second largest student group by ethnicity at 4.1%. Students that identify as two or more races make up 4%, and 3.9% of students are African American.
Marshall University has a similar breakdown of the student body. 8,989 students are full-time, while 2,969 students are enrolled part-time. 4,805 students are male, and 7,153 students are female. 83.5% of students at Marshall University are white, and 4.8% are African American. 2.9% self-report their ethnic identity as two or more ethnicities, and 2.4% are Hispanic.
Looking for scholarships is a smart way to help pay for a college education, regardless of what a student’s academic goals are. However, students in financial need will face competition for scholarships, which is why it’s important to apply for a wide range of scholarships. Students should apply for both general scholarships, open to all students, and selective scholarships, which are only available to some students.
West Virginia residents should apply for scholarships that are exclusively made for West Virginia resident students, as other students will not be able to apply. This will decrease the competition West Virginia students face, increasing their chances of winning.
This exclusive scholarship for $1,500 is open to West Virginia students interested in English or journalism. Only high school seniors may apply. Any interested students should apply by July 1st to be considered for this scholarship. A short personal statement about the applicant’s academic interests and service or volunteer work is required to apply.
This $500 scholarship is open to all high school seniors in West Virginia. To apply, write a short essay about what being West Virginian means to you by the March 4th, 2023 deadline.
In addition to specific West Virginia scholarships, students should also consider applying for other scholarships without location requirements since applying for a wide range of scholarships can help students increase their chances of winning.
Students should consider what aspects of their personal life or academic career might qualify them for a scholarship and can then use the filters and categories on Bold.org to find corresponding options.
High school is a wonderful time to start finding and accumulating scholarships. The more money you earn while in high school, the more financial freedom you'll have when it comes time to choose a college. High school students can apply for many West Virginia scholarships, such as the ones on the following list.
High school seniors can take advantage of scholarships specifically open to their grade level, reducing the competition for each opportunity. Below, you'll find a list of options specifically for high school seniors.
If you've already finished high school and haven't yet started applying for scholarships, don't worry! There are plenty of options for those already in college. You can get started with the following options:
No matter how or where students apply for scholarships, the process should be fairly easy. Students should first choose a method for finding and applying for scholarships.
High school students might benefit from using their guidance office as a resource for finding scholarships, while college students could seek out their financial aid office. In this case, the guidance or financial aid counselors will likely be able to provide students with specific instructions for applying for scholarships. Usually, all a student will need to do is fill out a form and write a personal statement, if required, in order to apply.
Another effective way to find and apply for scholarships is through the use of an online platform like Bold.org. By making a free profile with some personal information, Bold.org can help match students with relevant opportunities. In addition, online platforms can allow students to apply for many scholarships with just a few clicks by submitting students’ personal information on their behalf.
Online platforms can be a time-effective way to find and apply for scholarships. If an essay is required, students can usually submit the essay online as well.
Most scholarships will only require two things from students: some personal information, and in some cases, a short essay in response to a given prompt.
If students apply through their guidance or financial aid office, they should discuss how to submit these documents with their school counselors. Students who apply for scholarships through online platforms will likely be able to submit their information and essays online. Students can apply for as many scholarships as they're eligible for.
Most scholarships fall into one of two categories: general scholarships or exclusive scholarships.
General scholarships are opportunities that are open to all or most students of any background or grade level. These scholarships will typically have very few criteria applicants must meet in order to qualify. As a result, general scholarships are easy to find and apply for.
Exclusive scholarships, on the other hand, are opportunities made for a specific group of students. These scholarships will typically have several criteria applicants must match in order to apply. Students that match none or only some of the requirements will not be considered.
For example, an exclusive scholarship might be available only to female graduate students with an interest in computer science. Some other common criteria for exclusive scholarships include minimum grade point average, family background, income level, or geographic location.
Other factors, like a student's academic merit, extracurricular activities, and volunteer experience may also qualify or disqualify students from applying for certain exclusive opportunities.
Applicants should make sure to carefully read the requirements for all the scholarships they are interested in to avoid wasting time on scholarships they don't qualify for.
Students should try to apply for a mix of general scholarships and exclusive scholarships. There are pros and cons to applying for both, but all scholarships can be rewarding.
General scholarships are easier to find and apply for because typically most students are automatically eligible to apply. Exclusive scholarships, though more difficult to find, will greatly decrease the competition applicants face. As a result, exclusive scholarships may offer a better chance of winning money.
Though it may be difficult to find an exclusive scholarship that matches your particular needs, it’s important to keep looking. The abundance of scholarships available on websites like Bold.org means that there is a scholarship for everyone, regardless of their personal history or future goals.
Finding the right opportunities is key when trying to earn money through scholarships.
There are scholarships available to students of all ages and grade levels. As a result, there is no right or wrong time to start applying for scholarships.
The most common target audience for scholarships is high school seniors and college students. This group of students will likely be able to find the highest amount of opportunities that they are eligible for.
However, there are still opportunities open for students of all grade levels. Students from high school underclassmen to graduate students in college should be able to find opportunities. Additionally, even those who have graduated will qualify for certain scholarships if they're still paying off loans.
Though it may be slightly harder to find scholarships for high school underclassmen, for example, these scholarships still exist. Wherever you are in your life as a student, it's worth it to seek out scholarship opportunities and apply.
It is also important to note that the earlier students start applying for scholarships, the more money they may be able to win.
Applying for scholarships earlier rather than later in your academic career allows students to have more time to apply. New scholarships are created each day, meaning students who begin to apply earlier will have access to more scholarships than students who don’t begin to apply until later in their careers.
In addition, the path to higher education is sometimes uncertain. Not all students know exactly what they want or where they want to go to school. Some college students already know they want to go to graduate school, while others might not even be ready to declare their major.
Because of this, it can be helpful to apply for as many scholarships as possible as early as you can. This can help build up a safety net of scholarship money so that students can keep their financial options open later on.
Scholarships are not counted as income, but only if the scholarship money is used exclusively for necessary educational expenses. Using scholarship money for other expenses may mean taxes will be collected on your scholarship money.
Necessary educational expenses refer to all the costs students must pay in order to obtain a degree. If failing to pay a fee would result in an inability to graduate with a degree, then that expense likely qualifies as a necessary educational expense.
Necessary educational expenses are mandatory tuition and course enrollment fees, and textbook and supplies fees. It’s important to note that housing and travel expenses do not qualify as necessary educational expenses, even though they're important costs.
In addition, in the unlikely event that your scholarship money is more than your necessary educational expenses, the excess money will be taxable. However, this situation rarely occurs.
If you win a scholarship through Bold.org, the money will be sent directly to your college and applied to your educational costs, so it won't be counted as income. As long as all scholarship money is spent only on necessary educational expenses, your scholarship money will not be taxed.