HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) – More than 1,250 scholarships have been awarded to students across the Mountain State since March 1st to help them be able to attend private schools in the state.

The Hope Scholarship, which was approved by the West Virginia state legislature in 2021, consists of taxpayer dollars that are “being used to fit people’s educational needs” and allow them to use the funding for private or homeschooling.

Why does West Virginia need this?

“The idea here is educational freedom. It’s educational freedom for parents and their children, and I think it also make education more competitive here in the state because there’s going to be competition for those dollars and competition always creates better outcome. So, I think this is going to be a win-win for everybody,” explained Riley Moore, the West Virginia State Treasurer.

He says the state funding will allow parents to provide the educational option they believe is the best fit their children.

There are, however, mixed emotions among West Virginians in regard to the scholarship. One person who was in favor – and decided to remain anonymous – said they believe this scholarship “provides a great opportunity for all children to be able to have access to better education.”

Some residents, on the other hand, said they strongly opposed the scholarship.

Resident’s thoughts:

“I feel like if you’re going to private school, that should be privately funded – it’s in the name. If it’s a public school and they’re taking taxes out for it then that’s one thing, but if you’re in a private school and your parents are obviously well off enough to send you to a private school, it’s the same thing as doing homeschooling,” said Anthony Gishnock, a West Virginia resident.

Another resident, Lindsey Brumfield, shared her thoughts saying, “I think it’s great and if you have that opportunity that’s amazing. I just think there still should be more funding for public schools, especially for fixing buildings, putting it into different programs, especially for students to just thrive there.”

The West Virginia Treasurer’s Office says they plan to fund “as many student applications that [they] receive.”

Anyone interested in applying or learning more about the scholarship can visit the Hope Scholarship website.