Hope Scholarship Program
- Education Savings Account (ESA)
- Enacted 2021
- Launched 2022
West Virginia’s Hope Scholarship Program is an education savings account (ESA) that allows eligible parents to receive the average per-pupil state funding already set aside for their children’s education onto an electronic, parent-controlled fund for educational expenses. Those expenses can include private school tuition, tutoring, credentialing, therapies, transportation and more. Learn more about how the program works on this page, including eligibility, funding, regulations and more.
We do not administer this program.
West Virginia’s First School Choice Program
Most Expansive ESA in the United States
of Students Eligible Statewide
Maximum Account Value as a Percentage of Public School Per-Student Spending
Percent of West Virginia students eligible for the Hope Scholarship Program
West Virginia Hope Scholarships are equal to 100 percent of the prior year’s statewide average net state aid allotted per pupil based on net enrollment adjusted for state aid purposes (about $4,600 in 2020–21). If a student is awarded a Hope Scholarship for less than the full school year, they receive a prorated share of that amount. Unused funds carry over to the next school year.
Qualifying expenses for Hope Scholarship accounts include individual classes and extracurricular activities provided by a public school district; private school tuition and fees; tutoring services; fees for nationally standardized assessments, advanced placement exams, any college admission exams, and any preparatory courses for these exams; tuition and fees for courses leading to an industry-recognized credential; tuition and fees for non-public online learning programs, alternative education programs, and after-school or summer education programs; educational services and therapies. Parents may also use Hope Scholarship funds to pay transportation providers to bring their students to and from an education service provider.
Students must have attended public elementary or secondary schools for at least 45 full-time instruction days of the school year in which they apply or been enrolled in public school for the entirety of the previous school year. All kindergarten students are eligible for a Hope Scholarship regardless of previous public school attendance.
Parents may renew their children’s Hope scholarships each year after initial approval, up to a student’s high school graduation or when they turn 21 years old.
EdChoice Expert Feedback
West Virginia’s Hope Scholarship Program is the most expansive ESA in the country and has the potential to help tens of thousands of students obtain the educational services that best fit their needs. It is a model for other states to emulate.
All West Virginia students are eligible to receive an ESA if they are switching out of a public school in grades 1-12 or entering kindergarten. If the total amount of Hope Scholarship recipients in 2024 is less than 5 percent of West Virginia’s K–12 enrollment, then all K–12 students will be eligible for ESAs beginning in July 2026, regardless of whether they had previously been enrolled in a public school.
ESAs are funded at 100 percent of the state’s per-pupil funding, absent administrative expenses. The ESA empowers families with the freedom and flexibility to customize their child’s education and the program’s rollover provision allows them to save for future educational expenses.
Administration of the Hope Scholarship Program is overseen by a nine-member board comprising state cabinet members, education leaders, as well as governor appointees. This administrative structure should give ESA families a voice to ensure that the program is run effectively. The program generally avoids counterproductive regulations.
Rules and Regulations
- Income Limit: None
- Prior Year Public School Requirement: Conditional
- Geographic Limit: Statewide
- Enrollment Cap: No
- Account Cap: 100 percent average per pupil aid
- Testing Mandates: National (individualized instruction students)
- Parent must sign an agreement to:
- Provide an education in the subjects of reading, language, mathematics, science and social studies
- Only use the Hope Scholarship for qualifying expenses
- Comply with all rules and requirements as promulgated by the Hope Scholarship Program Board
- Allow the student to participate in enrichment activities such as organized athletics, art, music and literature
- Alert the Hope Scholarship Program Board of any enrollment changes or withdrawals
West Virginia §18-8-1, §18-9A-25, §18-31-1 through 13
No legal challenges have been filed against the program.