Charleston, W.Va. (AP) -- West Virginia's Promise Scholarship program will almost certainly increase its test score requirement -- and do so immediately -- if the legislature balks at capping the annual awards at $4,500.
Hiking the minimum act composite score from 22 to 24 would eliminate nearly a third of the high school seniors now eligible for Promise.
Raising it to 25 is also under discussion.
That would deny promise to nearly 42 percent of this year's scholars.
West Virginia Higher Education officials say they have few alternatives.
Projected cost increases threaten to leave the merit-based scholarship deeply in debt by 2014.
Promise now covers tuition and fees at state schools.
Gov. Joe Manchin's proposed scholarship cap was recommended by a study commission earlier this year.
(Copyright 2009 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.)