1997 Regular Session
To: Education; Appropriations
By: Senator(s) Ferris
Senate Bill 2398
AN ACT TO ESTABLISH THE MISSISSIPPI TEACHER GRADUATE SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM TO ASSIST ELIGIBLE TEACHERS TO GAIN GRADUATE DEGREES LEADING TO ADVANCED TEACHER LICENSURE THROUGH SCHOLARSHIPS, TO BE IMPLEMENTED BY THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF STATE INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER LEARNING; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. (1) There is established the Mississippi Teacher Graduate Scholarship Program for the purpose of assisting eligible teachers to gain graduate degrees leading to advanced teacher licensure through the awarding of financial scholarships and to attract and retain qualified graduate level teachers for those geographical areas of the state and academic subject areas in which there exist a critical shortage of teachers. The scholarship program shall be implemented and administered by the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning and is subject to the availability of funds appropriated specifically therefor by the Legislature.
(2) Under the Mississippi Teacher Graduate Scholarship Program, qualified teachers may be awarded financial assistance in an amount that is equal to the actual cost of three (3) three-hour academic courses per year. However, no teacher may receive assistance through the program for more than ten (10) three-hour academic courses. A teacher scholarship shall not be based upon an applicant's eligibility for financial aid, and the receipt of any other scholarship or financial assistance shall not affect a teacher's eligibility under the program.
(3) In order to qualify for an teacher graduate scholarship, an applicant must satisfy the following requirements:
(a) The applicant must be employed full-time as a classroom teacher with a local Mississippi school district;
(b) The applicant must be accepted for enrollment at a graduate degree-granting institution of higher learning in the State of Mississippi which is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and approved by the Mississippi Commission on College Accreditation;
(c) The teacher must maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 calculated on a 4.0 scale for all courses funded through the teacher graduate scholarship program; and
(d) The teacher must have expressed in writing a present intention to teach in a critical teacher shortage geographic or academic subject area.
(4) The Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning shall develop a system that provides for the payment of scholarship funds directly to the educational institution at which a recipient of a Mississippi Teacher Graduate Scholarship is enrolled.
(5) At the beginning of the school year next succeeding the date on which a person who has received an teacher scholarship obtains a graduate degree, that person shall begin to render service as a graduate licensed teacher in a school district or academic subject area, or both, designated by the State Board of Education. The State Board of Education shall establish the duration of teaching service due for recipients of scholarships based upon the number of academic hours funded through the teacher graduate scholarship program. Any person failing to meet teaching requirements shall be liable for the amount of the corresponding scholarship received, plus interest accruing at the current Stafford Loan rate.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1997.