2007 Regular Session
To: Universities and Colleges; Appropriations
By: Representative Brown
AN ACT TO CREATE THE MISSISSIPPI COMMUNITY AND JUNIOR COLLEGE TRANSFER SCHOLARSHIP FUND; TO AUTHORIZE STUDENTS TRANSFERRING FROM A PUBLIC COMMUNITY OR JUNIOR COLLEGE IN MISSISSIPPI TO A STATE INSTITUTION OF HIGHER LEARNING TO APPLY FOR A SCHOLARSHIP FROM THE FUND; TO PRESCRIBE REQUIREMENTS FOR INITIAL ELIGIBILITY AND CONTINUATION OF SCHOLARSHIPS; TO PROVIDE THAT THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF STATE INSTITUTIONS SHALL BE THE ADMINISTERING AGENCY OF THE PROGRAM; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. (1) There is created the Mississippi Community and Junior College Transfer Scholarship Fund. The purpose of the fund is to assist eligible students in transferring from a public community or junior college in the state to a state institution of higher learning. The fund shall consist of all monies appropriated to the fund by the Legislature and any gifts, grants or donations that may be received from any source, public or private. Monies in the fund may be used solely for the purpose of awarding scholarships under this section. Interest earned on the investment of monies in the fund must be returned and deposited to the credit of the fund.
(2) A student transferring from a public community or junior college in the state to a state institution of higher learning may apply for a scholarship under this section. In order to be eligible, a student initially applying for a scholarship must meet the following requirements:
(a) Be a United States citizen or eligible citizen of another country and, if required, registered with the Selective Service;
(b) Have resided in Mississippi during the twelve (12) months preceding enrollment at any state institution of higher learning;
(c) Have a custodial parent or guardian who is a resident of Mississippi if the student is considered a dependent;
(d) Have no criminal record;
(e) Have never attended a state institution of higher learning;
(f) Have earned a minimum of sixty (60) transferable credit hours at a public community or junior college in Mississippi and have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 calculated on a 4.0 scale;
(g) Be enrolling or accepted for enrollment at a state institution of higher learning as a full-time undergraduate student pursuing a first baccalaureate degree;
(h) File the Free Application for Federal Student Financial Aid (FAFSA);
(i) Be eligible for a Pell grant; and
(j) Be in compliance with the terms of federal and state aid programs.
(3) A student enrolled in a state institution of higher learning must meet the following requirements in order to maintain continued eligibility for a scholarship awarded under this section:
(a) Making steady academic progress toward a baccalaureate degree, including earning not less than the minimum number of credit hours required for full-time standing each semester or trimester at the applicable state institution of higher learning;
(b) Maintaining continuous enrollment at the same state institution of higher learning as a full-time undergraduate student, excluding summer sessions, for not less than two (2) semesters in each successive academic year, unless the student is granted an approval for a transfer of award or, in the case of withdrawal from school, granted an exception for cause by the Postsecondary Education Financial Assistance Board;
(c) Have a cumulative grade point average of no less than 3.0 calculated on a 4.0 scale at the end of each academic year;
(d) Have no criminal record other than misdemeanor traffic violations;
(e) File the Free Application for Federal Student Financial Aid (FAFSA) annually;
(f) Be eligible for a Pell grant annually;
(g) Continue to maintain residency in Mississippi; and
(h) Be in compliance with the terms of federal and state aid programs.
(4) The failure of a student to maintain academic eligibility or status as a full-time student, other than in the case of complete withdrawal, results in the permanent discontinuation of the student's eligibility for a scholarship under this section. A complete withdrawal from a state institution of higher learning also results in the discontinuation of a student's eligibility for a scholarship; however, the student may file an appeal for reconsideration with the Postsecondary Education Financial Assistance Board and may be granted an exception for cause.
(5) Each student submitting an application for a scholarship under this section will be notified whether or not the student is determined to be eligible for funding. Any applicant from whom additional information is requested is encouraged to respond in writing by the specified deadline.
(6) The state institutions of higher learning and community and junior colleges shall report to the Board of Trustees of State Institution of Higher Learning certain information regarding each applicant and recipient of a scholarship under this section, including, but not necessarily limited to, the following:
(a) Confirmation that the scholarship recipient is enrolled full-time each semester; and
(b) Confirmation of the continuing eligibility of the recipient at the completion of each academic year ending after the spring semester or trimester, including:
(i) The total number of hours earned by the student during the specific academic year, excluding summer sessions;
(ii) The student's cumulative grade point average; and
(iii) Notification to the Postsecondary Education Financial Assistance Board if the student fails to enroll or subsequently withdraws from the state institution of higher learning.
(7) (a) The maximum annual scholarship that may be awarded to a student under this section is Three Thousand Dollars ($3,000.00). Any student classified as a junior is eligible to receive a maximum of two (2) annual awards, or in those instances when a degree program requires five (5) years for completion, three (3) annual awards.
(b) A student's total financial award package may not exceed the cost of attendance or any other limitation established by the institution which is less than the cost of attendance at the state institution at which the student is enrolled. If a student's total financial award package exceeds the state institution's cost of attendance or any other lesser limitation established by the institution, the institution may reduce the amount of the scholarship awarded under this section. The state institution shall refund to the Postsecondary Education Financial Assistance Board an amount equal to that which a scholarship awarded to a student is reduced under this paragraph.
(8) The Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning shall promulgate rules and regulations necessary to carry out the purposes and intent of this section. The board of trustees is the administering agency of the program.
(9) It is the intent of the Legislature to fully fund scholarships to all eligible applicants under this program. If funds are insufficient to fully fund scholarships for all eligible applicants, the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning shall award scholarships to those students making steady academic progress toward their first baccalaureate degree on a first-come, first-served basis; however, priority consideration must be given to persons previously receiving scholarships under this section if those persons are making steady academic progress toward completion of a baccalaureate degree.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2007.