2016 Regular Session
To: Universities and Colleges; Appropriations
By: Senator(s) Harkins
AN ACT TO ESTABLISH THE 2016 MISSISSIPPI WORKS SCHOLARSHIP PILOT PROGRAM TO ASSIST CAREER AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION (CTE) STUDENTS WHO ENROLL AT MISSISSIPPI COMMUNITY COLLEGES TO COMPLETE A CTE CERTIFICATE OR DEGREE; TO PROVIDE THAT THE PROGRAM SHALL BE ADMINISTERED BY THE POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE BOARD; TO PRESCRIBE QUALIFICATIONS FOR THE PROGRAM; TO PROVIDE THAT THE PROGRAM IS CONTINGENT ON APPROPRIATED FUNDS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. (1) The Legislature finds that in the course of an average year, approximately eight thousand (8,000) students will complete Secondary Career and Technical Education (CTE) Programs at Mississippi public high schools.
(2) In order to encourage these students to continue their education in career- or technical-related studies, the 2016 Mississippi Works Scholarship Pilot Program (program) is hereby created. This scholarship program will assist CTE students who enroll at Mississippi public community or junior colleges to complete specified CTE certificate programs that prepare them for immediate employment. The CTE scholarship program shall be administered by the Postsecondary Education Financial Assistance Board.
(3) In order to participate in the program, a student must:
(a) Be a Mississippi resident, as provided under Sections 37-103-1 through 37-103-29, with the exception of Section 37-103-17;
(b) Have graduated high school with at least a 2.0 grade point average;
(c) Be admitted to a public community or junior college and apply for and accept all offers for all available federal, state and institutional gift aid;
(d) Be enrolled at the community or junior college within twelve (12) months upon completion of a Secondary Career and Technical Education Program or any military service;
(e) Be a first-time (not including hours earned in dual enrollment), full-time college student at the time of admission; and
(f) Be enrolled in an appropriate Associate of Applied Science or certificate program, to be certified by the Mississippi Community College Board, in the areas of: Energy, Manufacturing (including, but not limited to, Shipbuilding, Aerospace, and Automotive), Healthcare, Agriculture Business, Hospitality/Tourism, Information Technology, Construction, or Transportation/Logistics.
(4) Once admitted into the program, participating students:
(a) Must maintain a 2.5 grade point average each semester in the eligible Associate of Applied Science or certificate programs;
(b) Shall not transfer their participation in the program to another institution. A student who transfers to another public community or junior college shall not be eligible to participate in the program at the transfer institution; and
(c) Shall not continue to be eligible to receive funds for the program upon transferring out of an eligible program.
(5) When possible, a mentor from business or industry will help students participating in the program. Tasks of a mentor may include helping students navigate the college admissions process, transition to a postsecondary institution and stay on track to graduate in a timely manner. Mentors will be chosen by participating community or junior colleges. It will be the responsibility of the community or junior college to match mentors with program participants.
(6) An award under the program is intended to be a last-dollar scholarship. Therefore, the maximum award amount that program participants may receive shall not exceed the amount of outstanding tuition after all other federal, state, institutional and private grant or scholarship aid has been applied.
(7) Participants in the program shall only be eligible for the program for the fall 2016, spring 2017, fall 2017, and spring 2018 semesters. By September 1, 2017, the Mississippi Community College Board shall conduct an evaluation of the program based upon fall 2016 and spring 2017 semesters and report to the Legislature on the number of participants in the program, the cost associated with the program, the Associate of Applied Science and certificate programs in which participants enrolled and the progress made by participants toward a degree or certificate. The Mississippi Department of Education shall provide assistance necessary to complete this report.
(8) It shall be the responsibility of each community or junior college to establish an application with specific submission timeframes for the program. Participating institutions will evaluate applications and select the students eligible for participation.
(9) Each institution's financial aid office will submit a student roster and invoice to the State Financial Aid Office after determining each student's eligible award amount. It is the intention of the Legislature that no general funds authorized to be expended for this purpose shall be used to replace federal funds, other state funds, and/or local community college institutional funds, which are being used at the time of the passage of this act to assist students with the cost of tuition and which are subsequently withdrawn and are no longer made available to offset tuition costs. Funds which are provided by any public and/or private entities, including college foundations, to help community college students pay for text books, room and board, or other college expenses aside from tuition, shall not be considered in determining the cost of the program and shall not be counted in determining how much money will be provided by the state to any student under the provisions of this act.
(10) Public and private entities that provide financial contributions to existing community or junior college tuition guarantee programs may continue to do so and are encouraged to continue to do so, or to provide funds to students to help pay for college expenses other than tuition.
(11) The program shall be contingent upon funds appropriated by the Legislature in an amount sufficient to cover all eligible participants. Funds appropriated for the program shall be in addition to the usual annual appropriation received by the community and junior colleges. If legislative funding is not sufficient to meet the needs of all eligible students, the State Financial Aid Office shall prorate the award amount for each eligible student. Any unfunded tuition shall be the responsibility of the student. Any funds appropriated for this act which are not expended during the fiscal year for which they were appropriated shall not lapse into the State General Fund and shall be carried forward for the same purposes during the succeeding fiscal year. However, if this section is repealed from and after July 1, 2018, any funds remaining for the purposes of this section on June 30, 2018, shall lapse into the State General Fund.
(12) Funds shall be distributed by the Office of Financial Aid of the Postsecondary Education Financial Assistance Board directly to each community or junior college on behalf of students participating in the program. Additionally, the State Financial Aid Office is hereby authorized to take reasonable administrative expenses out of the basic appropriation to administer the program.
(13) This section shall stand repealed from and after July 1, 2018.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2016.