Establishes the High Achieving Tuition Scholarship Program (Program) and sets out the Program's purposes, including: encouraging higher performing students at community colleges, creating more educational and career options for students, and developing a more competitive workforce.
Eligible students must: (1) in the academic semester prior to enrolling in a community college, graduate with at least a 3.5 unweighted grade point average from either a public high school located in this state or a nonpublic high school or home school located in this state; (2) present evidence that the student is a US citizen or eligible noncitizen; (3) qualify as a resident of this state for tuition purposes; (4) gain admission as a student at a North Carolina community college in a curriculum program; (5) comply with Selective Service registration requirements; and (6) affirmatively state that the student does not have a felony conviction for a controlled substance offense.
Requires the State Education Assistance Authority (Authority) to, within available program funds, annually award High Achieving Tuition Scholarships to eligible students in an amount not to exceed the cost of 16 credit hours of tuition per fall or spring academic semester for a maximum of four academic semesters. Also requires the Authority to require students to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be eligible for a scholarship award and reduce the amount of the scholarship award for any student by the amount of grants or scholarships from other sources the student receives. Requires scholarships to be awarded to eligible students in the order in which they are received. Requires the Authority to award scholarships beginning with the fall semester of the 2020-21 school year to students graduating from high school in the 2019-20 school year.
Requires a scholarship to be renewed if the student maintains a 3.0 grade point average, completes a minimum of 30 semester credit hours by the end of the academic year, and makes an affirmative statement that the student does not have a felony conviction for a controlled substance offense.
Requires a scholarship to be revoked for any of the following at the conclusion of the first semester of an academic year: (1) failure to maintain a course load of at least 12 credit hours or (3) default or unpaid refund on a student financial aid program.
Requires the Authority to adopt rules for administering the Program.
Requires community colleges to ensure scholarship recipients are provided counseling and assistance in maintaining the necessary grade point averages and selecting coursework that reflects their educational and career goals, and for students planning to enter a constituent institution of The University of North Carolina, the State Board of Community Colleges is required to ensure that credits earned by participating students are transferable.
Appropriates $50,000 for 2019-20 from the General Fund to the UNC Board of Governors to be allocated to the Authority for administrative costs. Appropriates $2 million from the General Fund to the UNC Board of Governors for 2020-21 for administrative costs and award of scholarships. Allows the Authority to use up to 5% of the appropriate funds for administrative costs. Requires that any unexpended funds for this purpose not revert at the end of each fiscal year, but instead remain available to award scholarships to eligible students.
Requires the UNC Board of Governors to adopt a policy to allow any student admitted to a constituent university who receives a High Achieving Tuition Scholarship to defer admission to the constituent institution for two years, beginning with the 2020-21 school year. Makes deferred admission contingent upon the successful completion of an associates' degree and remaining in good standing in the Scholarship Program while in community college.
Requires the State Board of Education, for the 2019-20 school year, to direct local boards of education to survey high school students in their senior year who meet the eligibility requirements of the High Achieving Tuition Scholarship to determine interest in the program. Requires the State Board of Education to report the survey results to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee by December 15, 2019.
Requires the UNC Board of Governors and the State Board of Community Colleges to jointly identify and report to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee by April 1, 2023, on potential issues related to the transition of High Achieving Tuition Scholarship recipients from community college to university enrollment, and other recommendations to improve and expand the Program.
Requires the State Education Assistance Authority to report annually on or before September 1, beginning in 2021, to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee on the implementation of the High Achieving Tuition Scholarship Program. Specifies information that must be included in the report.
Effective July 1, 2019.
Bill H 128 (2019-2020)Summary date: Feb 20 2019 - More information
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