AN ACT TO APPROPRIATE FUNDS TO ESTABLISH A PILOT PROGRAM IN CERTAIN COUNTIES TO PROVIDE SAVINGS FOR HIGHER EDUCATION.
Establishes the Higher Education Savings Grant Pilot Program (Program) to be administered by the State Education Assistance Authority (Authority) to invest funds to be awarded for the benefit of qualifying students who enroll in eligible public or private postsecondary educational institutions. Defines qualifying student as one who enrolls in an eligible public or private postsecondary educational institution who: (1) qualifies as a legal resident of North Carolina and as a resident for tuition purposes under the criteria in GS 116-143.1 and in accordance with definitions of residency that may from time to time be adopted by the UNC Board of Governors; (2) is an eligible resident (defined as a child born in an eligible county between July 1, 2021, and June 30, 2022); and (3) has not previously benefitted from an award of funds pursuant to this act.
Establishes the Higher Education Savings Trust Fund (Trust Fund) to be administered by the Authority to be used to provide grant awards to qualifying students. Allows 2.5% of the monies available in the Fund each fiscal year to be used for administrative costs related to operating the Fund and marketing for the Program.
Amends GS 147-69.2 to allow the State Treasurer to invest funds deposited in the Higher Education Savings Trust Fund in any of the investments authorized under (b)(6c) (b)(8) or (b)(9a) of the statute notwithstanding the percentage limits imposed on the Retirement Systems' investments.
Requires the Department of Health and Human Services to transmit the following to the Authority by December 31, 2022, for live births that occurred in Duplin, Guilford, Madison, Union, and Wake counties, between July 1, 2021, and June 20, 2022: names of children born and their parents, the parents' addresses, and the total number of live births. Specifies that this information is not public record and must be kept confidential. Allows the Authority to use the information only to identify eligible residents, notify the person of eligibility, and determine the funds needed to be deposited into the Higher Education Savings Account.
Requires students wanting to participate in the Program to contact the Authority within 30 days of enrolling at an eligible public or private post-secondary educational institution. Requires awarding $100 plus interest within 60 days of enrollment at an eligible institution for each qualifying student to defray costs of tuition, with funds to be provided directly to the institution.
Requires a report by November 1, 2023, and each year thereafter in which funds are deposited in or awarded from the fund, to the specified NCGA committee. Specifies items to be included in the report.
Appropriates $2.4 million for 2022-23 from the General Fund to the UNC Board of Governors to be allocated to the Authority for the Program. Requires the Authority to hold the funds until it determines the number of eligible residents who were born and at that time requires depositing funds sufficient to award $100 to each eligible resident into the Trust Fund.
Effective July 1, 2022.