Putting money from gambling proceeds into the scholarship program was a major factor that helped convince some legislators to support making slot machines legal in gambling sites throughout the state when Bob Wise was governor.
"Since then, increasingly more money has been taken from the actual state budget," Pennington said. "The number of Promise Scholars and tuition rates have both increased.
"With these growing rates, the Excess Lottery formula for the Promise Scholarship should be increased," she said.
Raamie Barker, senior adviser to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, questioned whether it is wise to have the Promise Scholarship program automatically pay for all increases in college tuition and fees.
"What happens when you do that is you give colleges a blank check to raise tuition any time they want to. Then the state has to fork over whatever it costs.
"There has to be some way of keeping the college administrations in check on that," Barker said.
"It is not realistic to expect the Lottery system to pay for tuition and fees at whatever rate they are. That would inflate them too fast. And it also puts a burden on those students who don't get Promise Scholarships."
During the current fiscal year, $18.5 million of the $47.5 million for Promise Scholarships came from the state's general revenue funds. The other $29 million came from the Excess Lottery Fund, which totaled $290.6 million this year.
Today, WVU gets 44 percent of the money from all Promise Scholarships, while Marshall University gets 16.9 percent.
Other costs are also rising for students, Pennington said.
"Many students have huge problems finding affordable housing and textbooks. Since 1978, the prices of textbooks have increased at three times the rate of inflation."
"Since Promise has been capped to $4,750 for every high school graduating class since 2010, more students have found difficulty in going to college and staying in college," according to a statement prepared by Pennington.
Promise Scholarship Qualifications
To qualify for a Promise Scholarship, a student and his or her parents must have lived in West Virginia for at least 12 months before applying for the scholarship, unless the student was serving in the Armed Forces.
Students must also:
To keep a Promise Scholarship, a student must maintain at least a "B" average and earn at least 30 academic credits during each academic year.
Reach Paul J. Nyden at pjny...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5164.