West Virginia treasurer wants elimination of Hope Scholarship deadline

The golden West Virginia State Capital Dome towering above the trees on an clear, early Fall evening, just before sunset in Charleston, WV.

CHARLESTON, W. Va.–West Virginia Treasurer Riley Moore wants to lower some barriers for the Hope Scholarship, which provides money for students leaving the public school system to use for a variety of education costs.

At the top of his list is elimination of a Hope Scholarship deadline in future academic years, opening the program up to year-round applications.

Under the current legislative rule, the Hope Scholarship application period is set up to run from March 1 through May 15 each year. More than 5,700 students have been awarded the Hope Scholarship for the 2023-2024 year that is about to begin.

Moore, a Republican who is also running for Congress, has introduced the concept of year-round application to the board that oversees the Hope Scholarship.

“Right now we do it one time a year,” Moore said on MetroNews’ “Talkline.” “And as we’ve worked through this process and become better at it, we feel it is going to be better for the parents, the students and also better for us as we administer the program for the window to be open all year round.”

Moore also said he intends to work with legislators to allow the program to operate on a quarterly funding model.

The Hope Scholarship law requires the Hope Scholarship Board to provide funds to qualified students twice a year, with the first half of funds for an academic year provided by Aug. 15 and the remaining half provided by Jan. 15. Moore would like lawmakers to allow the board to fund accounts on a quarterly basis.

“So then as we approve people all through the year, depending on where they are on the school year, then it would be full or partial funding for that year in which they are approved, depending on the time of year it is,” he said. “That’s a really big deal, so I think that’s something a lot of families and students would love to see.”

Earlier this month, the Hope Scholarship board agreed to change the program’s reimbursement policy to provide additional educational purchasing options for participating families.

The board will now allow reimbursement requests for widely and immediately available “off-the-shelf” curriculum packages that are available for purchase on the open market.

Until now, curriculum could only be purchased with Hope Scholarship funds through the program’s online Education Market Assistant portal. However, some of the most widely used curriculum providers do not offer their products through the EMA portal in West Virginia or through similar programs in other states.

So during a meeting earlier this month, the Hope Scholarship Board approved policy changes that would allow participating families to purchase these pre-packaged curriculum options on the open market and be reimbursed by the Board.

“We’re trying to give them more flexibility,” Moore said on “Talkline.”