It’s hard to explain why the administration of NC Gov. Roy Cooper chose for months not to pay the scholarships the state provides for the children of wartime veterans.
Children of members of the armed forces who are killed in action or die from injuries received in combat automatically receive scholarships paid for by the state. Children of combat veterans and veterans on disability are also eligible for scholarships.
The scholarships are administered by the North Carolina Department of Military and Veteran Affairs (DMVA) and the $9.2 million to fund the scholarships is recurring money in the budget.
It’s no secret that the state doesn’t have a budget because of a disagreement between the Republican-led legislature and the Democratic governor who appoints the head of the DMVA.
But the fact that the state doesn’t have a budget doesn’t mean that the state doesn’t have money to spend. In North Carolina, when a budget doesn’t get passed by July 1, the beginning of the new fiscal year, the state spends money at the same level as in the previous budget. The reason teachers have not received a raise this year is because the budget that included raises for teachers did not get passed. But teachers are still being paid.
In this case, the $9.2 million for these scholarships was allocated on July 1 but the DMVA reportedly claimed it didn’t have the money for scholarships because the budget had not been passed.
WBTV in Charlotte ran an article about one student who was told that she would have to refund some of the money the state didn’t pay to East Carolina University.
After that article, reportedly the DMVA paid the scholarships, but at the beginning of November, the DMVA hadn’t spent any of the money when during the same period in 2018 it had spent $4 million.