WEST virginia legislature
2023 regular session
House Bill 2997
By Delegate C. Pritt
[Introduced January 24, 2023; Referred to the Committee on Education then Finance]
A BILL to amend and reenact §18-31-2 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, relating to ensuring that the HOPE Scholarship is eligible to all children in West Virginia, not just those enrolled in public school for 45 days.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
The following words have the meanings ascribed to them unless the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
(1) "Account" or "scholarship" means a Hope Scholarship account, awarded pursuant to this article, to which funds are allocated by the board to the parent or parents of an eligible Hope Scholarship student in order to pay qualifying education expenses to educate the student pursuant to the requirements and conditions of this article;
(2) "Board" means the Hope Scholarship Board created pursuant to §18-31-3 of this code;
(3) "Curriculum" means a complete course of study for a particular content area or grade level, including any supplemental materials required by the curriculum;
(4) "Education service provider" means a person or organization that receives payments from Hope Scholarship accounts to provide educational goods and services to Hope Scholarship students;
(5) "Eligible recipient" means a child who: (A) Is who is a resident of this state; and
(B) Is 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 until an award letter is issued by the board under §18-31-5(c) of this code, or enrolled full-time in a public elementary or secondary school program in this state for the entire instructional term the previous year, or is eligible at the time of application to enroll in a kindergarten program in this state pursuant to §18-8-1a of this code, except that if on July 1, 2024, the participation rate of the combined number of students in the Hope Scholarship Program and students eligible who have applied to participate in the Hope Scholarship program during the previous school year is less than five percent of net public school enrollment adjusted for state aid purposes for the previous school year, then, effective July 1, 2026, a child is considered to meet the requirements of this paragraph if he or she is enrolled, eligible to be enrolled, or required to be enrolled in a kindergarten program or public elementary or secondary school program in this state at the time of application
(6) "Hope scholarship funds" means the moneys deposited in a Hope Scholarship student’s account in accordance with the requirements of this article.
(7) "Hope scholarship student" means a student who receives a scholarship pursuant to this article;
(8) "Parent" means a biological parent, legal guardian, custodian, or other person with legal authority to act on behalf of an eligible recipient or Hope Scholarship student;
(9) "Participating school" means any private school that provides education to elementary and/or secondary students and has notified the board of its intention to participate in the program and comply with the program’s requirements;
(10) "Resident school district" means the county school district in which the student resides; and
(11) "Treasurer" means the West Virginia State Treasurer.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to permit the HOPE Scholarship to apply to all children, not just those enrolled in public school for 45 days.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from a heading or the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.