2022 Bills

HB 331: Hope Scholarship Program

This bill did not pass the House by a vote of 22-53.

Libertas Institute supports this bill

Staff review of this legislation finds that it aligns with our principles and should therefore be passed into law.

2021 has been called the year of educational choice. Seven states created seven new ed choice programs, and 15 states expanded 23 existing programs allowing more parents freedom to choose the education that fits their children. 

Utah was ahead of the curve adding the Utah Special Needs Scholarship to the already existing Carson Smith Special Needs Scholarship Program in 2020. Together these two programs serve approximately 2,000 of the 670,000+ students in Utah. And the minimal funding to these two programs has gone a long way.

But not all students are eligible for these scholarships. The eligibility requirements are strict, with about 10% of students eligible. In addition, the scholarships are only able to service less than one percent of Utah’s children because of funding limitations.

That is the problem that Corinne is experiencing. She is the mother of five children with unique educational needs, and her children aren’t eligible for either scholarship. Her children’s needs include anxiety, academic struggles, and a student whose gifts aren’t being maximized. Both she and her husband work to provide for their large family. She isn’t able to meet the educational needs of her children, but could with access to a scholarship like the ones mentioned above.

The Hope Scholarship created by House Bill 331 from Representative Candice Pierucci would help Corinne and many other families across the state.

The Hope Scholarship will provide $36 million dollars annually for parents to use to customize their child’s education. The bill will be able to service 7,000 to 9,000 students. It varies because it is intended to help all families, but with particular emphasis on low income earners. 

Parents will be able to choose how their child is educated. Parents can use it for private school tuition or build a customized education for their children. Parents can use the funds on textbooks, materials, community classes, educational therapies, mentoring, or software. 

The Hope Scholarship provides customizable education funds to the people who know the students best, their families.