MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The Hope Scholarship education savings account bill is on its way to the governor after Senate passage on Wednesday.
The vote was about as expected, 20-13, with two Republicans siding with the minority.
The Hope Scholarship program is a state-funded education savings account (ESA). It will begin as a way to allow public school students to transfer to a private school or be homeschooled. The estimated initial enrollment is 5,118. The estimated per-pupil scholarship of $4,600 (a flexible figure based on average state aid per pupil) could be used for a variety of specified educational expenses.
Beginning in 2026, all students in private and home schools would be eligible for the scholarship if total program participation is less than 5% of statewide student enrollment based on 2023-2024 numbers. That expands the total estimated enrollment to 27,368 students, according to a Department of Education fiscal note.
The initial cost could reach $23.7 million and grow to $126.6 million under the 2026 expansion…