§18-31-5. Award of Hope Scholarships.
(a) The Hope Scholarship Program is established to provide the option for a parent to better meet the individual education needs of his or her eligible child. The program shall be operational no later than July 1, 2022.
(b) The board shall create a standard application form that a parent can submit to establish his or her student’s eligibility for the award of Hope Scholarship funds, to be placed in a personal education savings account to be used for qualifying education expenses on behalf of the eligible recipient as provided for in §18-31-7 of this code. Information about scholarship funds and the application process shall be made available on the board’s website.
(c) The board shall make such applications available no later than March 1, 2022 and shall begin accepting applications immediately thereafter. The board may update the application as needed. The board shall issue an award letter to eligible recipients within 45 days of receipt of a completed application and all required documentation.
(d) The board shall approve an application for a Hope Scholarship if all of the following circumstances are met:
(1) A parent submits an application for a Hope Scholarship in accordance with the legislative rules promulgated by the board;
(2) A student on whose behalf the parent is applying is an eligible recipient, as provided for in §18-31-2(5) of this code;
(3) The parent signs an agreement with the board, promising to do all of the following:
(A) To provide an education for the eligible recipient in at least the subjects of reading, language, mathematics, science, and social studies;
(B) To use the Hope Scholarship funds exclusively for qualifying expenses as provided for in §18-31-7 of this code;
(C) To comply with the rules and requirements of the Hope Scholarship program; and
(D) To afford the Hope Scholarship student opportunities for educational enrichment such as organized athletics, art, music, or literature; and
(4) The board confirms with the West Virginia Department of Education that the student satisfies §18-31-2(5)(B) of this code: Provided, That if the department does not reply within 30 days, this criteria is considered satisfied.
(e) An application for a Hope Scholarship is confidential and not a public record subject to release pursuant to the West Virginia Freedom of Information Act, as codified in §29B-1-1 et seq. of this code.