CHARLESTON, W.Va. – After a legal roadbump initiated in 2022, payments for the Hope Scholarship are finally making their way to West Virginia students.
According to a release from the West Virginia State Treasurer’s Office, the first-ever Hope Scholarship payments were sent to student accounts to be used for “authorized educational services.”
“This is a great day for school choice in West Virginia,” said State Treasurer Riley Moore. “After a tumultuous year of uncertainties and obstacles, families are finally able to put the Hope Scholarship to work for their children.”
Applications for the Hope Scholarship Program began in March 2022, with first payments meant to be sent out in August the same year, but “a legal injunction handed down last July by a Kanawha County Circuit Court judge halted all activity with the program,” the release said. It wasn’t until October that the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia declared the Kanawha court had “’abused its discretion‘” and lifted the injunction.
After the ruling, the Hope Scholarship Board passed emergency rules to start sending out funds to families.
“We have done our best to ensure all families enrolled in the program are made whole and receive the funds they deserve,” Treasurer Moore said.
On Friday, 1,610 students finally received $4,298.60, the full-year scholarship, while 187 students received the prorated amounts, all available for use in the program’s Education Market Assistant online portal.
“Families that continued with nonpublic options would receive funding for the full academic year, while those that pursued public school options during all or part of the injunction semester would be awarded a prorated amount,” the release said.
466 student accounts are still pending payments due to data issues.
“I know the injunction and the uncertainty it caused created a tremendous hardship on families, and we appreciate the patience they have displayed as we continue to work through the litany of issues it produced,” Treasurer Moore said. “Now that the state Supreme Court has fully upheld this program, we look forward to helping students and their families take full advantage of this program and its benefits for the remainder of this academic year and the school year to come.”
Families that did not receive a payment or did not respond to their updated status survey for the current academic year should email firstname.lastname@example.org with their child’s West Virginia Education Information System ID number.
Those wanting reimbursements for “qualifying education expenses incurred during the injunction period” can expect a reimbursement module that will launch “the week of Jan. 23” in the Education Market Assistant portal, the release said.
Recipients of the 2022-2023 Hope Scholarship can renew their scholarship on Feb. 15. Applications for the 2023-2024 Hope Scholarship will open on March 1.