West Virginia

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 in 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 and regulations on this page.

We do not administer this program.

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  • 1st

    West Virginia’s First School Choice Program

  • 93%

    of Students Eligible Statewide

  • 5,791

    Participating Students (202324)

  • $4,299

    for Full-year Scholarship (2023-2024)

  • 34%

    Maximum Account Value as a Percentage of Public School Per-Student Spending

Percent of West Virginia students eligible for the Hope Scholarship Program

Student Funding

Each West Virginia Hope Scholarship is equal to 100 percent of the prior year’s statewide average net state aid allotted per pupil. It is based on net enrollment adjusted for state aid purposes (roughly $4,300 in 2022–23), which is about a third of the value of total current public school per-student spending in the state. 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; supplemental materials (supplies, textbooks); educational services and therapies and any other qualified expenses approved by the Hope Board. Parents may also use Hope Scholarship funds to pay transportation providers to bring their students to and from an education service provider.

(Last updated December 14, 2023) 

Student Eligibility

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 have 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. If the total amount of Hope Scholarship recipients in 2024 is less than five 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.

Parents may renew their child’s Hope scholarships each year after initial approval, up to a student’s high school graduation or when they turn 21 years old.

(Last updated December 14, 2023) 

EdChoice Expert Feedback

West Virginia’s Hope Scholarship Program is one of the most expansive ESAs 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 five 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. Policymakers could do even more for West Virginia families by eliminating the prior public attendance requirement, rather than relying on the 5 percent threshold.

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.

(Last updated December 14, 2023) 

Rules and Regulations

  • Income Limit: None
  • Prior Year Public School Requirement: Yes
  • Geographic Limit: Statewide
  • Enrollment Cap: No
  • Account Cap: 100 percent of the prior year’s statewide average net state aid per pupil 
  • Testing Mandates: Nationally norm-referenced tests, or portfolio review for at home instruction  

Parent Requirements

  • 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

School Requirements

  • Accreditation Requirement: Register with state
  • Background checks for teachers
  • Comply with Federal non-discrimination laws
  • Submit to auditing requirements

(Last updated December 14, 2023) 

Governing Statutes

West Virginia §18-8-1, §18-9A-25, §18-31

(Last updated December 14, 2023)