Use this page to find answers to the most common questions people are asking about the West Virginia Invests Grant. If you don’t find the answer you’re looking for, contact your institution’s financial aid office or one of our financial aid experts!
Invests Application Process
- Is there a deadline? The preferred deadline is April 15, but students can and should apply after that date. Awards are made on a rolling basis. There are steps that must be completed before the term begins (i.e. drug screen, promissory note, verification, etc.) so you should submit the application early and at least 2 weeks before your term begins.
- What do I have to do to apply? You must file the FAFSA and the WV Invests Grant application.
- What terms does the application cover? Each application covers the Summer, Fall and Spring terms, in that order. For example, the 2023-24 WV Invests Grant application is for Summer 2023, Fall 2023 and Spring 2024.
- Do I have to apply each year? Yes, you must complete the WV Invests Grant application and file the FAFSA each year to qualify.
- Can I get a WV Invests Grant if my program is not listed as an eligible program? No, students can only receive WV Invests Grant funds for an eligible program.
- Will the WV Invests Grant cover the courses I need so I can get into an eligible program? No, WV Invests Grant funds only cover the courses of the eligible program and no prerequisites that may be required to get into an eligible program.
- Can I get WV Invests Grant after I have completed a certificate program for another eligible program? Yes, you can continue to receive WV Invests Grant funding until you have met the requirements for an associate’s degree or reached 90 attempted hours.
- What if I want to change programs mid-year? A student may switch from one eligible program to another eligible program and continue to receive the WV Invests Grant until they have met the requirements for an associate’s degree or reached 90 attempted credit hours.
- Am I eligible for a WV Invests Grant if I am taking a technical pathway program in high school and want to change programs once enrolled in a community college? As long as the student is enrolled in an eligible program and meets the eligibility criteria, they may change programs and receive WV Invests Grant funds.
- If I have a degree already, am I eligible? Those with an associate’s degree or higher are not eligible for the WV Invests Grant.
- Clarification on the 90 attempted hours – is this checked at the initial award annually or each term? The 90 attempted hours is checked at the beginning of each term. Once a student has reached 90 attempted hours, they are no longer eligible. If they have 89 attempted hours, then they are still eligible for the next term.
- How do forgiven attempted hours factor into the rule? There are no forgiven attempted hours for the WV Invests Grant. All attempted college credit hours would count toward the 90 hours, which would include repeats, withdraws, incompletes, and failed credits.
- If I am in default or have been in default on a student loan, am I eligible for the WV Invests Grant? Any defaulted student loans must be resolved before a student would be eligible for a WV Invests Grant. If the applicant is eligible for Title IV aid, then the student is eligible for WV Invests Grant funds.
Visit our drug screening page for details about the drug screening process.
- Who must be tested? Any student who applies and wants to be considered for funding through the WV Invests Grant Program must submit a drug screening within 60 days prior to the beginning of the first term in which you are eligible for the academic year (summer through spring) and any student who previously received a positive result.
- How often must I take a drug screen? You must take at least one drug screen prior to the beginning of the first semester in the academic year (summer through spring) in which you are awarded and enroll at least part time. A passing result during the 60 days before the first term in which you enroll at least half time will qualify you for all subsequent terms you are eligible in the academic year. A first non-passing result requires you take another drug screen during the 60 days before the next term you are eligible and enroll at least part time. A subsequent non-passing result requires you complete a drug rehabilitation program as prescribed by the Vice Chancellor for Administration to remain eligible and taking another drug screen during the 60 days before the next term you are eligible and enroll at least part time.
- Are the results confidential? The results are confidential. The approved medical provider will send you a copy of your testing results within one week of receipt of your specimen and will also send the results to the WV Invests Grant Program. A positive or negative will be shared and, if positive, which substance. No further information is provided from the drug screening company.
- Where do I go to complete my drug screening? Facilities, locations and times are available on the Participate In Program web site. After you receive an award letter from the WV Invests Grant Program, follow the step-by-step drug screen instructions to create an account, pay for your drug screen, find a location and schedule an appointment on the Participate In Program web site.
- Do I need an appointment? Appointments are not required. Walk-ins are available during business hours.
- What should I bring to the drug screening facility? You must bring a government-issued photo ID and a Drug Screening Authorization Form. The Drug Screening Authorization form will appear in your Participate in Program account after you have paid for the drug screen. Failure to provide an accurate WV Invests Grant ID number when creating your Participate in Program account may result in invalidation of the drug screening.
- Where can I find my WV Invests Grant ID? The WV Invests Grant ID is provided on the confirmation page of your WV Invests Grant online application. It will also be included in the award letter notification.
- Should I go ahead and take the drug screening right after I apply? No. Wait until you receive an award letter for the WV Invests Grant before submitting a drug screening. After you receive your award letter, you will need to create an account on the Participate In Program web site, where you will pay for your drug screen and find an approved testing site.
- What if I’m not attending during the term listed on the award letter? You do not need to take a drug screen prior to a term you will not enroll at least half time. You will be sent reminder emails with the details for taking a drug screen before subsequent terms in the academic year before which you must take a drug screen.
- What happens if I am taking legally-prescribed medications? If you are taking legally-prescribed medications, you should be prepared to provide documentation of the prescription to the Medical Review Officer, if contacted after providing the specimen.
- How do I get the results of my screening? The drug screen results will be sent to your Participate in Program account within a few days. You can access your Participate in Program account at Participate In Program.
- What are the possible drug screening results?
- Negative – you tested negative for controlled substances and will be processed for the WV Invests Grant Program as passed.
- Positive – you tested positive for controlled substances and will only be eligible for WV Invests Grant Program funding for the semester if it is your first positive result. You will be required to pay for and pass another drug screen within 60 days prior to the beginning of the next term in which you are eligible for an award to continue receiving the award. If you fail the subsequent test, you will be required to complete a drug rehabilitation program as prescribed by the Vice Chancellor for Administration before you may receive funds for that term.
- If the results are positive, can I still take classes and receive other forms of financial aid? The drug screening results are only used to determine your eligibility for WV Invests Grant funding. The results will not impact your eligibility to receive other forms of financial aid (Federal Pell Grant, student loans, etc.) nor will they impact your ability to enroll in classes at your institution.
- Can I appeal the drug screening results? Yes, you may appeal the results of the drug screening through a retest of the original specimen.
The student is responsible for paying for the retest cost. The retest compares a new drug screen to the previous drug screen that was positive.
If the retest is negative, the student would be eligible for that semester. If the retest is positive, the student may appeal to the WV Invests Grant Program. Appeals must be filed in writing within 15 days of receiving notification of the positive drug screening from the retest. The appeal must be sent to the Director of State Financial Aid Programs and must include documentation to support the claim that the analysis was faulty. You will be notified in writing when a final decision is made about your appeal.
- What if I refuse to submit the drug screening? You have the right to refuse to submit to a drug screening. You will not be eligible for WV Invests Grant funding if you refuse.
- Who pays for the drug screening? The student is responsible for paying for the drug screening each semester. Speak with someone in your institution’s financial aid office if you will have difficulty paying for the screening. In some cases, funding may be available to offset the cost of the screening.
- If my academic program also requires regular drug screenings, do I have to take another one for the WV Invests Grant? It is up to the academic program administrator or agency partner to decide whether the WV Invests Grant Program required drug screening is adequate or if another drug screening is required. Check with your institution’s financial aid office if you have questions.
- What does a WV Invests Grant cover? It pays on tuition and mandatory fees. Effective Summer 2021, it also pay toward academic program fees at 2-year public institutions approved by the WV Council for Community and Technical College Education. The WV Invests Grant does not pay toward other non-approved fees, books, supplies, etc.
- What does “last dollar” mean? We take tuition and approved fees then subtract federal and state scholarships and grants and tuition waivers. If there is a remaining balance, the WV Invests Grant will be applied to the balance.
- What scholarships and grants are subtracted before the WV Invests Grant is calculated? Federal Pell Grant, Federal SEOG, WV PROMISE Scholarship, WV Higher Education Grant, HEAPS Part-time Grant, HEAPS Workforce, and institutional tuition waivers are subtracted first, as well as other federal and state grants.
- What about other types of financial aid? Most other types of financial aid (such as private or institutional scholarships and grants; work-study; student loans; Underwood-Smith Teaching Scholars Program; WV Engineering, Science & Technology Scholarship; WV Center for Nursing) could be received on top of a WV Invests Grant award.
- Do I have to use my Federal Pell Grant or WV Promise Scholarship before using the WV Invests Grant? Yes, if you are eligible for Federal Pell Grant, WV Promise Scholarship, WV Higher Education Grant, etc., then you must utilize those funds before a WV Invests Grant award would be applied to tuition and approved fees. If you decide to defer receiving Federal Pell Grant, WV Promise Scholarship, WV Higher Education Grant, etc., the amount you would have been eligible for will be deducted before the amount of WV Invests Grant is calculated.
- What community service do I need to do? Those who receive funds in a term, must complete 2 hours of community service as approved and verified by the institution.
- What if I don’t complete or forget to verify the community service? The award for that term may be canceled and you will not be eligible for any further disbursements from the WV Invests Grant.
- What is the deadline for completing the community service? The 2 hours of community service must be completed during the term and before the term ends. Community service performed before the term cannot be used.
- I have graduated, dropped out or dropped below part-time enrollment. What happens next? Now that you are no longer enrolled at least part time, you are in a 6-month grace period. We will contact you near the end of your 6-month grace period if we need documentation showing you are a resident.
See Residency Requirements for FAQs about the post-enrollment residency requirement.
- What if I’ve decided to continue working on another degree or transfer to another institution? While you are enrolled in college at least part time, you do not enter the post-enrollment period and have to verify you are a resident yet.
- Do I have to be a West Virginia resident to receive WV Invests Grant funds while I am a student at a West Virginia institution? WV Invests Grant funding is only available to West Virginia residents. Even though a resident of another state is enrolled at a West Virginia institution, that non-West Virginia resident is not eligible for WV Invests Grant funding. To be eligible for funding, the student must be a U.S. citizen and have resided in West Virginia for a minimum of one year immediately preceding the application for WV Invests Grant funding. A student who moves to West Virginia for educational purposes only is not considered a resident.
- If I move out of state after I finish my program, do I have to pay the WV Invests Grant back? Once a student is no longer enrolled half-time, they enter a 6-month grace period. At the end of the grace period, a student must be residing in West Virginia or else begin making monthly payments. A recipient must reside continually for 2 years to fulfill the requirements for the WV Invests Grant.
- Is it 2 years for each year I receive the WV Invests Grant? No, a recipient only needs to live in West Virginia for 2 years no matter how many terms or how much money the student received.
- Does living in West Virginia before I received the award count toward the 2-year residency requirement? No, only residency after a student drops below half-time enrollment counts toward the 2-year residency requirement. A student cannot begin the 2-year residency requirement if they are still enrolled in college.
- What if a recipient cannot find a job in West Virginia? The WV Invests program requires all recipients to reside in West Virginia for 2 years after dropping below half-time enrollment. If a recipient moves out of state, they would be required to pay back the WV Invests Grant plus interest and fees.
- What happens after I graduate, cease to be enrolled, or drop below part-time enrollment? To prevent the WV Invests Grant from converting to a loan, recipients must be a resident of West Virginia for at least 2 years after dropping below part-time college enrollment, ceasing to be enrolled, or graduating. That post-enrollment residency requirement starts immediately but you will first enter a 6-month grace period, during which time the WV Invests Grant Program will attempt to verify your West Virginia residency with other state databases. If your residency cannot be verified with those agencies, you will be required to provide a WV Invests Grant Residency Verification Form and acceptable current documentation of your residency.
- How often is my residency verified? We will verify you are a resident 3 times during the two years.
- What if I transfer to another institution and no longer receive WV Invests Grant? Your post-enrollment residency requirement begins after you drop below part-time enrollment. Institutions are required to regularly report enrollment to the National Student Clearinghouse and we will confirm your continued enrollment with that entity. Because of various reporting timelines by institutions, verification of your continued enrollment may not occur in a timely manner. If that occurs, to prevent your grace period from starting or your award going into repayment, you may need to complete a WV Invests Grant Enrollment Verification Form with your current school of enrollment.
- Who is Heartland ECSI? We contract with Heartland ECSI to service your account. ECSI is not a collection agency but a third-party vendor handling our billing and payments. Contact us, or ECSI, with any changes in your name, address, phone, etc. It is your responsibility to notify us if your contact information changes.
- Why am I getting a bill? Your grant funds have converted to a loan and payment is due. If you are a resident of West Virginia or are enrolled at least part time in college, you may still provide documentation by contacting the office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-558-4618.
- How do I access my account information with ECSI? First you will need to visit heartlandecsi.com and create an account. You may need to provide the following information: HEPC School Code – ACWL; Account Number: -Your Social Security Number; PIN: Your assigned PIN.
- How do I contact ECSI about my account?
Visit heartlandecsi.com to log into your account or live chat with an agent. You can also email email@example.com or call (888) 549-3274.
- I no longer live in West Virginia, how do I pay back the grant? If you are not fulfilling your service obligation (living in West Virginia for 2 years after you are no longer enrolled at least part time), your account at Heartland ECSI will enter repayment 6 months from the time you dropped below half time status, left school, or graduated. You will receive billing information, which states the interest rate, payment amounts, and payment methods. Your first payment is due one month after your 6-month grace period ends.
- What options are available for repayment? Payment methods with Heartland ECSI include:
1. ACH (Automated Clearing House), which is an automatic deduction each month from your checking or savings account. You’ll save money by not writing a check or paying postage.
2. Billing statements sent each month as a convenient reminder.
3. E-billing-Statements sent electronically to your email account.
- How can I start making payment before the end of the grace period or pay the full balance? Log into you account (or create an account) at heartlandecsi.com or otherwise contact ECSI at firstname.lastname@example.org or (888) 549-3274.
- What if I don’t pay this back? If you cannot fulfil the post-enrollment obligation and fail to repay this loan as agreed, the total loan amount may become due and payable immediately and placed with a professional collection agency to pursue repayment of the loan and will be reported to the Credit Bureau as past due. Any additional fees incurred with these actions will be the Borrower’s responsibility.