There has been a significant decline in the number of students applying for the award.
In 2009-10, 14,692 students applied. That number dropped to 11,389 the following year.
Before 2010, Promise scholars received the full price of tuition at any public university in the state. If a recipient attended a private university, he or she would receive the same amount of tuition charged by the most expensive public school.
To cut back on costs, state officials in 2010 capped the award at $4,750. Students who earned the award before that time still would receive full tuition - this is the final year in which a class of Promise recipients is receiving full tuition - but legislators hoped the costs would go down once all of those students graduated.
The average cost of tuition for an in-state student at a public university in West Virginia currently is $5,459. There is $47.5 million budgeted for the Promise scholarship this year.
Higher education officials have repeatedly warned that more tuition increases could be on the horizon if state funding is cut. In a letter Hill sent to state budget officials earlier this fall, he said the Promise scholarship also could be negatively affected by the cuts.
The governor's office has asked state agencies to cut their budgets for next year by 7.5 percent. Nothing is set in stone, but if that cut were to be finalized, that could mean a tuition increase of about 5 percent at every public institution in the state, Hill said in October.
In his letter to budget officials, Hill said budget cuts might mean less money for Promise. The award amount is set in code, but commission officials have said they believe they could change academic requirements if a funding shortfall was anticipated.
In his letter to budget officials, Hill also said cuts
could force consideration of legislation that would make students planning to attend a private college or university ineligible.
Hill and commission representatives have repeatedly said no cuts or changes to the program are planned at this time.