WV’s school choice Hope Scholarship to be open to all resident children beginning in ’26

03 July 2024- State Treasurer Riley Moore, who serves as Chairman of the Hope Scholarship Board, today announced that the Hope Scholarship Program has met state law requirements for opening up to all school-age children residing in West Virginia beginning in the 2026-2027 academic year.

“I’m thrilled to announce that Hope Scholarship Program enrollment numbers have met the threshold established by the Legislature to expand this program to all West Virginia school children beginning in the fall of 2026,” Treasurer Moore said. “This will be a monumental leap forward for school choice, allowing tens of thousands of additional West Virginia families to access this program.”

Passed by the Legislature in 2021, the Hope Scholarship Act initially made the program available only to West Virginia children who were either entering kindergarten or enrolled in public school for a qualifying period of time. However, the Act expands eligibility for the program beginning in the 2026-2027 school year to all school-age children residing in West Virginia if certain enrollment figures are met as of July 1, 2024.

Under the law, if the total number of Hope Scholarship students and applicants is less than 5 percent of net public school enrollment for the previous school year as of July 1, 2024, the program will be open to all existing school age children in the state beginning on July 1, 2026.

Based upon data provided to Hope Scholarship Board staff by the West Virginia Department of Education this week, the total number of Hope Scholarship students and applicants (9,980 as of Monday, July 1) is well below 5 percent of the net public school enrollment threshold for the previous school year (12,416).

“We believe, based on Department of Education estimates, that this will open up Hope Scholarship eligibility to an additional 30,000 to 40,000 West Virginia students in 2026,” Treasurer Moore said. “This expansion will allow all West Virginia families to use this program as they pursue the educational opportunities they believe work best for their children.”

Treasurer Moore has sent letters to legislative leaders and Gov. Jim Justice notifying them that the statutory criteria have been achieved.

While the expanded eligibility is set to begin in the 2026-2027 school year, applicants must still meet the current eligibility criteria established by state code to receive the Hope Scholarship for the upcoming 2024-2025 and 2025-2026 school years.

Under the current criteria, to qualify for the Hope Scholarship, a student must be a West Virginia resident and be either:

  • Eligible to be enrolled in a kindergarten program.
  • Enrolled full-time in a public elementary or secondary school program in this state for the entire instructional term during the current academic year (2023-2024 for the upcoming school year) immediately preceding the academic year for which the student is applying to participate in the Hope Scholarship Program.
  • Or, enrolled full-time and attending a public elementary or secondary school program in this state for at least 45 calendar days during an instructional term at the time of application and remain enrolled and attending public school until a decision is reached on the student’s Hope Scholarship application.

More information about the program is available at: www.hopescholarshipwv.com.