2005 Regular Session
To: Universities and Colleges; Appropriations
By: Representative Aldridge (By Request)
AN ACT TO CREATE THE SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM FOR UNDERSERVED RESIDENTS (SPUR); TO ESTABLISH REQUIREMENTS FOR STUDENTS TO QUALIFY FOR SPUR; TO PROVIDE A LIMIT ON THE SCHOLARSHIP AMOUNT; TO PROVIDE CRIMINAL PENALTIES FOR MAKING FALSE STATEMENTS IN ORDER TO RECEIVE A SCHOLARSHIP; TO PROVIDE FOR THE ELIGIBILITY FOR RENEWAL OF A SCHOLARSHIP; TO PROVIDE THAT PAYMENTS OF FUNDS AWARDED SHALL BE APPLIED TO TUITION FIRST; TO PROVIDE REQUIREMENTS FOR INSTITUTIONS TO BE ELIGIBLE IN ORDER FOR ITS STUDENTS TO PARTICIPATE IN SPUR; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. A student who qualifies for the Scholarship Program for Underserved Residents (SPUR) shall be any student:
(a) Whose family's prior year adjusted gross income (AGI) does not exceed the maximum allowed to qualify for full Pell Grant eligibility and college-campus-based federal aid; and
(b) Was enrolled in the previous school year in a school whose achievement classification is Level 1 or Level 2 according to the Mississippi Department of Education.
SECTION 2. A scholarship awarded under this program may be used by a qualified student at any school chosen by the parent(s) of such students, so long as the school is accredited by a legitimate accreditation body.
SECTION 3. The scholarship shall not exceed Three Thousand Dollars ($3,000.00) in any school year for which the scholarship was granted. It shall be applied to tuition, meals, books, materials, or fees. The administering agency shall disburse half of the scholarship amount at the beginning of each semester, or one-third (1/3) of the scholarship amount at the beginning of each trimester.
SECTION 4. By accepting a scholarship under this program, the student and the parent(s) of the student are attesting to the accuracy, completeness and correctness of information provided to demonstrate the student's eligibility. Falsification of such information shall result in the denial of any pending scholarship and revocation of any award currently held to the extent that no further payments shall be made. Any student or parent of a student who knowingly makes false statements in order to receive a grant shall be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable, upon conviction thereof, by a fine of up to Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00), a prison sentence of up to one (1) year in the county jail, or both, and shall be required to return all funds under this program that were wrongfully obtained.
SECTION 5. Eligibility for renewal of a scholarship under this program shall be evaluated at the end of each semester, or term, of each academic year. As a condition for renewal, a student shall:
(a) Maintain continuous enrollment for not less than two (2) semesters or three (3) quarters in each successive academic year, unless granted an exception for cause by the administering agency. If a student fails to maintain continuous enrollment, and is not granted an exception for cause by the administering agency, the student is ineligible to receive a scholarship under this program during the following semester or trimester or term of the regular academic year.
(b) Have a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.00 or its equivalent calculated on a 4.0 scale at the end of each semester or trimester or term.
SECTION 6. Each student, each year, must complete an application for a scholarship under this program as designed by the administering agency to determine his/her eligibility.
SECTION 7. Payment of the funds awarded under this program shall be made payable to the recipient and the educational institution and mailed directly to the institution, to be applied first to tuition.
SECTION 8. In order to remain eligible for its students to participate in this program, the institution shall comply with the following requirements:
(a) A complete and accurate roster of the eligibility status of each awarded student shall be made to the agency for each term, semester or quarter of the academic year the student receives a scholarship under this program;
(b) The institution is required to make refunds to the administering agency for any funds which have not been disbursed to the recipient, in the case of students who have received a grant but who terminate enrollment during the academic term, semester or quarter of the academic year is an institution's refund policies permit a student to receive a refund in such instances. the recipient shall be responsible for the refund of any funds which have been disbursed by the institution in such instance;
(c) If a student drops below full-time status but does not terminate all enrollment during the term, semester or quarter of the academic year no refund will be required for that term. However, that student is ineligible to receive a scholarship under this program during the following term, semester or quarter of the regular academic year; and
(d) The administering agency may conduct its own annual audits of any institution participating in the program, but such audits shall be limited to ensuring that the provisions of this act have been complied with. The agency may suspend or revoke an institution's eligibility to receive future monies under the program if it finds that the institution has not complied with the provisions of this act.
SECTION 9. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2005.