Tahlequah Daily Press

March 4, 2014

House Bill 2535


Staff

TAHLEQUAH — The full text of House Bill 2535, in its latest version, reads as follows:



STATE OF OKLAHOMA



2nd Session of the 54th Legislature (2014)



HOUSE BILL 2535    By:    Cox











AS INTRODUCED



An Act relating to higher education; establishing the Oklahoma Early College Scholarship Program; stating purpose of the Program; listing eligibility requirements; prohibiting certain students from being eligible; requiring public high schools to submit eligible student names to the State Department of Education; providing for calculation of the amount of a scholarship; providing for payment of scholarship amounts to institutions; requiring payments to be applied to outstanding tuition and fees; providing for remittance of balance to the student; clarifying that scholarship awards are not to be considered financial resources for certain purposes; providing for admissions and instruction for scholarship students; prohibiting use of scholarships for remedial courses; providing for application process; directing the Oklahoma State Regents to make scholarship payments to institutions by certain dates; directing the State Department of Education to calculate total costs of scholarship and reserve certain funds for costs; requiring the Department to transfer certain amount of funds to the State Regents; providing for codification; providing an effective date; and declaring an emergency.<EndFT>









BE IT ENACTED BY THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA:

SECTION 1.     NEW LAW     A new section of law to be codified in the Oklahoma Statutes as Section 2651 of Title 70, unless there is created a duplication in numbering, reads as follows:

There is hereby established the Oklahoma Early College Scholarship Program to be administered by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.  The purpose of the Program is to allow a student who graduates from a public high school in three (3) years or less to receive a scholarship funded with a portion of the money saved by the state in providing State Aid funding to school districts pursuant to Section 18-200.1 of Title 70 of the Oklahoma Statutes as a result of the early graduation of the student.  To be eligible for the scholarship the student shall enroll in an institution which is a member of The Oklahoma State System of Higher Education, a postsecondary vocational-technical program offered pursuant to a duly approved cooperative agreement between a technology center school and an institution of The Oklahoma State System of Higher Education or a private institution of higher learning located within this state and accredited pursuant to Section 4103 of Title 70 of the Oklahoma Statutes.

SECTION 2.     NEW LAW     A new section of law to be codified in the Oklahoma Statutes as Section 2652 of Title 70, unless there is created a duplication in numbering, reads as follows:

A.  To be eligible for the Oklahoma Early College Scholarship Program, a student shall:

1.  Be a resident of Oklahoma;

2.  Complete the requirements for graduation from a public high school accredited by the State Board of Education including the requirements set forth in Section 11-103.6 of Title 70 of the Oklahoma Statutes and Section 1210.523 of Title 70 of the Oklahoma Statutes and be awarded a high school diploma by a public high school in three (3) years or less;

3.  Have attended a public high school in Oklahoma on a full-time basis for at least two semesters prior to graduating; and

4.  Within one (1) year of graduating from high school, excluding any time served on active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States, enroll full-time in an institution which is a member of The Oklahoma State System of Higher Education, a postsecondary vocational-technical program offered pursuant to a duly approved cooperative agreement between a technology center school and an institution of The Oklahoma State System of Higher Education or a private institution of higher learning located within this state and accredited pursuant to Section 4103 of Title 70 of the Oklahoma Statutes.

B.  No student who enrolls in a high school for all or any part of a fourth year shall be eligible for the Oklahoma Early College Scholarship Program.

C.  A public high school shall submit to the State Department of Education the name of each student who graduates in three (3) years or less and meets the eligibility requirements as set forth in paragraphs 1 through 3 of subsection A of this section.

SECTION 3.     NEW LAW     A new section of law to be codified in the Oklahoma Statutes as Section 2653 of Title 70, unless there is created a duplication in numbering, reads as follows:

A.  The amount of the Oklahoma Early College Scholarship shall be calculated by multiplying the current statewide average per student allocation of State Aid as determined by the State Board of Education by eighty percent (80%).

B.  One-half (1/2) of the scholarship award as calculated pursuant to subsection A of this section shall be paid to an institution on behalf of any eligible student there enrolled at the beginning of the fall semester, and the other one-half (1/2) shall be paid in the same manner at the beginning of the spring semester.  A student shall be enrolled full-time during the spring semester in order to receive the second scholarship award installment.

C.  The institution shall apply the scholarship award payment to any outstanding tuition and fees of the student and shall remit the balance of the scholarship award, if any, to the student.

D.  The amount of a scholarship awarded under the Oklahoma Early College Scholarship Program shall not be considered as a financial resource in determining the amount of any grant or scholarship provided for under Title 70 of the Oklahoma Statutes or, except as required by federal law, in determining the amount of any other grant or scholarship administered by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.

E.  An institution shall not be required to change its admission standards to accept an individual to whom the State Regents has awarded an Oklahoma Early College Scholarship.  The scholarship shall not be used for remedial course work at the institution.  The institution shall provide facilities and instruction to a student awarded a scholarship on the same terms as to other students.

SECTION 4.     NEW LAW     A new section of law to be codified in the Oklahoma Statutes as Section 2654 of Title 70, unless there is created a duplication in numbering, reads as follows:

A.  Any eligible student seeking to obtain an Oklahoma Early College Scholarship shall, by September 1 of the year following graduation from high school, apply for admission to an approved higher education institution as provided for in Section 1 of this act.  The institution shall determine the initial eligibility of the student.  Once the student is admitted into the Oklahoma Early College Scholarship Program, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education shall make scholarship payments to the institution on behalf of the student.  The institutions shall submit to the State Regents the names of all eligible students by October 1 for the first semester and by February 25 for the second semester.  Once the eligibility of each student is verified, the State Regents shall distribute the funds necessary to award the scholarship to each eligible student to the institutions for the first semester on October 15 or the first working day thereafter, and for the second semester on March 15 or the first working day thereafter.

B.  The State Department of Education shall calculate the total cost of all scholarships for all eligible students in the state.  The State Department of Education shall then reserve or retain from the total amount appropriated to the State Board of Education for State Aid purposes and any other revenue available for allocation for State Aid purposes the total cost for all scholarship payments.  The State Department of Education shall transfer to the State Regents the amount of money necessary to award the Oklahoma Early College Scholarships to all students admitted into the Scholarship Program for that fiscal year.  One-half (1/2) of the necessary amount shall be transferred by October 15 for distribution for the first semester, and one-half (1/2) of the necessary amount shall be transferred by March 15 for distribution for the second semester.  Upon receipt, the State Regents shall distribute the funds pursuant to subsection A of this section.

SECTION 5.  This act shall become effective July 1, 2014.

SECTION 6.  It being immediately necessary for the preservation of the public peace, health and safety, an emergency is hereby declared to exist, by reason whereof this act shall take effect and be in full force from and after its passage and approval.



54-2-9739    KB    01/14/14