§18-31-6. Funding of Hope Scholarships; program and expense funds.
(a) There is hereby created in the State Treasury a special revenue fund designated and known as the West Virginia Hope Scholarship Program Fund. The fund shall be administered by the Treasurer and shall consist of funds transferred by the Department of Education in accordance with §18-9A-25 of this code. All interest and other returns derived from the deposit and investment of moneys in the Hope Scholarship Fund shall be credited to the fund. Any balance, including accrued interest and other returns, remaining in the fund at the end of each fiscal year shall not revert to the General Revenue Fund but shall remain in the fund and be expended as provided by this section.
(b) The amount of Hope Scholarship funds made available to an eligible recipient on a yearly basis shall be equal to 100 percent of the prior year’s statewide average net state aid share allotted per pupil based on net enrollment adjusted for state aid purposes, subject to the provisions of subsection (c) of this section: Provided, That the amount of the funding to an eligible recipient who is awarded a Hope Scholarship account for less than a full fiscal year shall be prorated based on the portion of the fiscal year the eligible recipient is awarded the Hope Scholarship account. On or prior to the submission of the Department of Education’s budget request each year, the board shall notify the Department of Education of the total number of eligible Hope Scholarship applications received by the board, for purposes of facilitating the necessary transfer of moneys pursuant to §18-9A-25 of this code.
(c) Expenditures from the Hope Scholarship Fund shall be limited to the purposes set forth in this article: Provided, That an amount not to exceed five percent of the fund shall be transferred annually to the West Virginia Hope Scholarship Program Expense Fund established in subsection (h) of this section to cover the annual administrative costs of the Hope Scholarship Program. If the number of Hope Scholarship accounts increases significantly after any fiscal year, the Treasurer may request an appropriation by the Legislature to the West Virginia Hope Scholarship Program Expense Fund in an amount equal to the administrative costs associated with the increase in Hope Scholarship accounts.
(d) The first deposit of Hope Scholarship funds into an eligible recipient account shall be subject to the execution of the parental agreement required by §18-31-5 of this code. Upon execution of the required parental agreement, and subject to the provisions of §18-31-9(e) of this code, one half of the total annually required deposit shall be made no later than August 15 of every year into an eligible recipient’s Hope Scholarship account, and one half of the total annually required deposit shall be made no later than January 15 of every year. Any funds remaining in a Hope Scholarship account at the end of the fiscal year may be carried over to the next fiscal year upon successful renewal of the account.
(e) Funds deposited in a student’s Hope Scholarship account, other than those funds expended on transportation services pursuant to §18-31-7(11) of this code, do not constitute taxable income to the parent or the Hope Scholarship student.
(f) The board shall continue to make deposits into an eligible recipient’s Hope Scholarship account in accordance with the provisions of this section unless any of the following conditions have occurred:
(1) A parent of an eligible recipient fails to renew a Hope Scholarship account or withdraws from the Hope Scholarship Program;
(2) The board determines that a student is no longer eligible for a Hope Scholarship;
(3) The board suspends or revokes participation in the Hope Scholarship Program for failure to comply with the requirements of this article;
(4) The Hope Scholarship student successfully completes a secondary education program; or
(5) The Hope Scholarship student reaches 21 years of age.
(g) If any of the conditions in subsection (f) of this section occur, the board shall notify the parent that the eligible recipient’s account will be closed in 45 calendar days. If a parent fails to adequately address the condition or conditions upon which closure is based or does not respond within 30 calendar days of receipt of notice, the board shall close the account and any remaining moneys shall be returned to the state.
(h)(1) There is hereby created in the State Treasury a special revenue fund designated and known as the West Virginia Hope Scholarship Program Expense Fund. The account shall consist of moneys received pursuant to this section; moneys, if any, transferred from special revenue funds administered by the Treasurer; or any governmental or private grants and any state general fund appropriations, if any, for the Hope Scholarship Program. All interest and other returns derived from the deposit and investment of moneys in the Hope Scholarship Program Expense Fund shall be credited to the fund. Any balance, including accrued interest and other returns, remaining in the fund at the end of each fiscal year shall not revert to the General Revenue Fund but shall remain in the fund and be expended as provided by this section.
(2) All expenses incurred by the Treasurer or the board in developing and administering the Hope Scholarship Program shall be payable from the West Virginia Hope Scholarship Expense Fund.