2007 Regular Session
To: Universities and Colleges; Appropriations
By: Representative Read, Eaton, Baker (8th), Bondurant, Broomfield, Chism, Davis, Fleming, Gregory, Gunn, Hamilton (109th), Hamilton (6th), Hudson, Janus, Lott, Martinson, Moore, Moss, Reed, Rotenberry, Shows, Simpson, Smith (39th), Snowden, Staples, Stringer, Sullivan, Upshaw, Warren, Weathersby, Palazzo, Peranich
AN ACT TO PROVIDE FOR THE WAIVER OF TUITION, REQUIRED FEES AND HOUSING COSTS AT THE STATE INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER LEARNING AND COMMUNITY AND JUNIOR COLLEGES FOR THE CHILDREN OF CERTAIN DISABLED VETERANS OF THE UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES; TO REQUIRE APPLICATIONS FOR A WAIVER TO INCLUDE DOCUMENTATION CONCERNING THE VETERAN'S DISABILITY; TO PROVIDE THAT TUITION MAY BE WAIVED FOR BOTH FULL-TIME AND PART-TIME STUDENTS; TO PROVIDE THAT THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF STATE INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER LEARNING SHALL BE THE ADMINISTERING AGENCY OF THE TUITION WAIVER PROGRAM; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. (1) Beginning with the 2007-2008 academic year, any resident of the State of Mississippi who is the child of an honorably discharged veteran of the United States Armed Forces who has a service-connected disability that is permanently and no less than twenty percent (20%) disabling according to the rules and regulations of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs may apply for a waiver of tuition at any state institution of higher learning or public community or junior college in the state. For the purposes of this section, the term "child" means a natural child, legally adopted child or stepchild.
(2) A veteran's child who qualifies for a tuition waiver under this section who is enrolled in or accepted for enrollment at a state institution of higher learning or a public community or junior college in Mississippi may apply for a waiver of tuition. In order to be eligible, a child may not have reached the age of twenty-three (23) years on the first day of the quarter, semester, trimester or term for which the child is enrolling; however, any child who has begun earning academic credit in furtherance of an associate or baccalaureate degree or certificate program before attaining the age of twenty-three (23) years whose college instruction is interrupted for any reason is eligible to receive academic waivers in furtherance of the degree or certificate toward which the student is working, subject to the conditions prescribed in subsection (3). An application must be accompanied by proper proof that the veteran is an honorably discharged veteran of the United States Armed Forces and that the veteran has a service-connected disability that is permanently and no less than twenty percent (20%) disabling according to the rules and regulations of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.
(3) A waiver of tuition awarded under this section may not exceed the actual cost of tuition at the institution or college at which the child of a veteran is enrolled or accepted for enrollment. For purposes of this section, the term "tuition" means the quarter, semester, trimester or term charges, all required fees and housing costs; however, the term "tuition" does not include books, food, school supplies, materials, dues or fees for extracurricular activities. Both full-time and part-time students may apply for a waiver under this section. Students enrolling on a full-time basis may receive a maximum of four (4) annual waivers, and in those instances when a degree program requires five (5) years for completion, five (5) annual waivers. The number of waivers which may be granted to a student attending school on a part-time basis may not exceed the length of time required to complete the associate or baccalaureate degree or certificate program toward which the student is working. A person who has a baccalaureate degree is not eligible for a waiver of tuition under this section, and any person who has an associate degree may receive waivers only in furtherance of a baccalaureate degree.
(4) As a condition for renewal of a waiver of tuition, a student must make steady academic progress toward a certificate or associate or baccalaureate degree, as certified by the institution's registrar, and must maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.00 calculated on a 4.00 scale at the end of each term.
(5) The Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning and the State Board for Community and Junior Colleges jointly shall promulgate rules and regulations necessary to carry out the purposes of this section. The Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning is the administering agency of the tuition waiver program.
(6) It is the intent of the Legislature that all children of veterans who are eligible for a waiver of tuition under this section be granted a waiver. If funding at a state institution or community or junior college is insufficient to provide a waiver of tuition for all eligible applicants at that institution or college, the board shall grant the tuition waivers to first-time students on a first-come, first-served basis; however, priority consideration must be given to persons previously receiving waivers under this section who are making steady academic progress toward completion of a certificate program or associate or baccalaureate degree.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2007.