Today, Governor Roy Cooper took action to ensure that students receiving Children of Wartime Veterans Scholarships receive full awards this semester despite the General Assembly's failure to fully fund the program.
The Governor and Office of State Budget and Management (OSBM) directed the Department of Military and Veteran Affairs (DMVA) to borrow from funds budgeted for next semester's awards to ensure that all students currently receiving scholarships receive awards consistent with their 2018-2019 amount. Students currently in school were left in the lurch when legislative Republicans adjourned without fully funding the Children of Wartime Veterans Scholarships.
"Students receiving Children of Wartime Veterans scholarships deserve the funds their families have sacrificed for and earned. It's unconscionable that legislators failed to adequately fund this program, leaving students in the lurch. Borrowing from next semester's funding is only a short-term solution and it is vital that legislators fully fund these scholarships for the year when they return in January,"
said Governor Cooper.
Once awarded, Children of Wartime Veterans Scholarships are eligible to be used for eight semesters over the course of eight years. The scholarships are paid by the Department of Military and Veteran Affairs directly to the community colleges, public or private colleges and universities attended by the students.
DMVA currently receives $9.19 million annually in recurring funds for Children of Wartime Veterans Scholarships. Last year, the General Assembly provided an additional $2.4 million for this important program. Using these additional funds DMVA was able to increase room and board amounts during the 2018-2019 school year. DMVA awarded scholarships to 1,157 recipients during the 2018-2019 school year, spending a total of $10.7 million. The department has limited authority to carry forward unused funds. For the fall 2019 semester, without the Governor's direction to use additional funds, the department could only award $4.8 million to 1,203 active recipients, requiring cuts to room and board awards.
The General Assembly failed to maintain funding levels from the 2018-2019 Fiscal Year. For the 2019-2020 school year DMVA requested similar funding from legislators, a request that was included in the Governor's proposed budget
and DMVA's budget request
to the General Assembly. Despite passing multiple priority funding bills throughout the summer and fall, legislators adjourned without providing additional funds for this program. DMVA notified recipient institutions of the impact to room and board awards on November 25th.
The Governor and OSBM's direction allows DMVA to use funds budgeted for next semester to fund the program. However, legislative action will be required to replenish the fund so as to fully fund scholarships before the end of the Spring Semester.
- Contact: Ford Porter