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PRINTER'S NO. 375
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
SENATE BILL
No.
111
Session of
2015
INTRODUCED BY FARNESE, FONTANA, BREWSTER, COSTA, SMITH, HUGHES,
YUDICHAK AND WILLIAMS, FEBRUARY 12, 2015
REFERRED TO EDUCATION, FEBRUARY 12, 2015
AN ACT
Providing for Pennsylvania Pathways to College Act, for grant
program, for grant application, for use of funds, for
technical assistance, for reporting requirements, for
reporting of data, for evaluations by grantees and for
report; imposing duties on the Department of Education; and
making an appropriation.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. Short title.
This act shall be known and may be cited as the Pennsylvania
Pathways to College Act.
Section 2. Definitions.
The following words and phrases when used in this act shall
have the meanings given to them in this section unless the
context clearly indicates otherwise:
"College-going rate." The percentage of high school
graduates who enroll at an institution of higher education in
the school year immediately following graduation from high
school.
"Department." The Department of Education of the
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Commonwealth.
"Eligible school entity." A school entity in which a
majority of the high schools served by the school entity are
high-need high schools.
"High-need high school." A high school in which not less
than 50% of the students enrolled in the school are:
(1) eligible to receive free or reduced price meals
under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (60
Stat. 230, 42 U.S.C. § 1751 et seq.);
(2) eligible to be counted under section 1124(c) of the
Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (Public Law
89-10, 20 U.S.C. § 6333(c)); or
(3) members of families eligible for public assistance
under Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.
"High school." A public high school in a school district
located in this Commonwealth and an area vocational-technical
school located in this Commonwealth.
"High school graduation rate." The percentage of students
who graduate from high school with a regular diploma in the
standard number of years, as defined under 34 C.F.R. § 200.19(b)
(1) (relating to other academic indicators).
"Institution of higher education." As defined in section
101(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (Public Law 89-329,
20 U.S.C. § 1001(a)).
"School entity." A school district or area vocational-
technical school.
Section 3. Grant program.
(a) Competitive grants.--The department may award grants on
a competitive basis to eligible school entities to carry out the
activities described in this act.
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(b) Duration.--A grant awarded under this act shall be four
years in duration.
(c) Distribution.--In awarding grants under this act, the
department shall ensure that the grants are distributed among
the different geographic regions of this Commonwealth and among
eligible school entities serving urban and rural areas.
Section 4. Grant application.
(a) Eligible school entity.--An eligible school entity
desiring a grant under this act shall submit an application to
the department at the time, in the manner and accompanied by the
information as the department may reasonably require.
(b) Contents.--An application submitted under subsection (a)
shall include a description of the program to be carried out
with grant funds and:
(1) a description of the high school population to be
targeted by the program, the particular college-access needs
of the population and the resources available for meeting the
needs;
(2) an outline of the objectives of the program,
including goals for increasing the number of college
applications submitted by each student and the number of
students submitting applications, increasing Free Application
for Federal Student Aid completion rates and increasing
school-wide college-going rates across the school entity;
(3) a description of the school entity's plan to work
cooperatively, where applicable, with programs funded under
Chapters 1 and 2 of Subpart 2 of Part A of Title IV of the
Higher Education Act of 1965 (Public Law 89-329, 20 U.S.C. §§
1070a–11 et seq. and 1070a–21 et seq.), including the extent
to which the school entity commits to sharing facilities,
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providing access to students and developing compatible record
keeping systems;
(4) a description of the activities, services and
training to be provided by the program, including a plan to
provide structure and support for the students in the college
search, planning and application process;
(5) a description of the methods to be used to evaluate
the outcomes and effectiveness of the program;
(6) an assurance that grant funds will be used to
supplement and not supplant other Federal, State or local
funds available to carry out activities of the type carried
out under the grant;
(7) an explanation of the method used for calculating
college enrollment rates for each high school served by the
eligible school entity that is based on externally verified
data;
(8) a plan to make the program sustainable over time,
including the use of matching funds from Federal and local
sources; and
(9) a description of the school entity's plan to work
cooperatively, where applicable, with the program funded
under Part H of Title VIII of the Higher Education Act of
1965 (Public Law 89-329, 20 U.S.C. § 1161h et seq.),
including the extent to which the school entity commits to
using and leveraging:
(i) the needs assessment and recommendations;
(ii) the model for measuring college enrollment; and
(iii) comprehensive services.
(c) Method of calculating enrollment rate.--The following
apply:
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(1) A method included in an application under subsection
(b)(7):
(i) shall, at a minimum, track students' first-time
enrollment in an institution of higher education; and
(ii) may track progress toward completion of a
postsecondary degree.
(2) An eligible school entity may develop a method under
subsection (b)(7) in conjunction with an existing public or
private entity that currently maintains the method.
(d) Special consideration.--In awarding a grant under this
act, the department shall give special consideration to an
application from an eligible school entity serving schools with
the highest percentages of poverty.
Section 5. Use of funds.
(a) Eligible school entities.--An eligible school entity
that receives a grant under this act shall develop and implement
or expand a program to increase the number of low-income
students who enroll in postsecondary educational institutions,
including institutions with competitive admissions criteria.
(b) Requirements for programs.--A program funded under this
act shall:
(1) provide professional development to high school
teachers and school counselors in postsecondary education
advising;
(2) implement a comprehensive college guidance program
for the students in a high school served by an eligible
school district under this act that:
(i) ensures that all students and their parents or
guardians are regularly notified throughout the students'
time in high school, beginning in the first year of high
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school, of:
(A) high school graduation requirements;
(B) college entrance requirements;
(C) the economic and social benefits of higher
education;
(D) college expenses, including information
about expenses by institutional type, differences
between sticker price and net price and expenses
beyond tuition; and
(E) the resources for paying for college,
including the availability, eligibility and variety
of financial aid;
(ii) provides assistance to students in registering
for and preparing for college entrance tests;
(iii) provides one-on-one guidance and assistance to
students in applying to an institution of higher
education and in applying for Federal financial aid
assistance and other State, local and private financial
aid assistance and scholarships; and
(iv) provides not less than one meeting for each
student, not later than the first semester of the first
year of high school with a school counselor college
access personnel, including personnel involved in
programs funded under Chapters 1 and 2 of Subpart 2 of
Part A of Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965
(Public Law 89-329, 20 U.S.C. §§ 1070a-11 et seq. and
1070a-21 et seq.), trained teacher or other professional
or organization such as a community-based organization,
approved by the school to discuss postsecondary options,
outline postsecondary goals and create a plan to achieve
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the goals, and provides not less than two meetings in
each subsequent year to discuss progress on the plan; and
(3) ensure that each high school served by the eligible
school entity develops a comprehensive, school-wide plan of
action to strengthen the college-going culture within the
high school.
(c) Allowable use of program funds.--A program funded under
this act may:
(1) establish postsecondary planning classes for high
school students to assist in the college preparation and
application process;
(2) hire and train postsecondary coaches with expertise
in the college-going process to supplement and not supplant
existing school counselors by providing high school students
with assistance in the college-going process;
(3) increase the number of school counselors who
specialize in the college-going process by serving students;
(4) train student leaders to assist in the creation of a
college-going culture in their schools;
(5) establish partnerships with programs funded under
Chapters 1 and 2 of Subpart 2 of Part A of Title IV of the
Higher Education Act of 1965, and with community and
nonprofit organizations to increase college-going rates at
high schools served by the eligible school entity;
(6) provide long-term postsecondary follow up with
graduates of the high schools served by the eligible school
entities, including increasing alumni involvement in
mentoring and advising roles within the high school;
(7) deliver college and career planning curriculum as a
stand-alone course, or embedded in other classes, or
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delivered through the guidance curriculum by the school
counselor for all students in high school;
(8) create or maintain a postsecondary access center in
the school setting that provides information on colleges and
universities, career opportunities and financial aid options;
and
(9) in the comprehensive college guidance program
implemented under subsection (b)(2), provide opportunities
for students to explore postsecondary opportunities outside
of the school setting, such as college fairs, career fairs,
college tours, workplace visits or other similar activities.
(d) Requirement.--Grant funds made available under this act
shall be used to supplement and not supplant other Federal,
State and local funds available to carry out the activities
described in this act.
Section 6. Technical assistance.
The department shall provide technical assistance to grantees
in carrying out this act. The technical assistance shall:
(1) provide assistance in the calculation and analysis
of college-going rates for the grant recipients; and
(2) provide an annual analysis to each grant recipient
recommending best practices based on a comparison of the
recipient's data with that of high schools with similar
demographics and resources.
Section 7. Reporting requirements.
An eligible school entity receiving a grant under this act
shall collect and report annually to the department the
information for the school entity and for a high school assisted
under this act on the results of the activities assisted under
the grant as the department may reasonably require, including
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information on:
(1) the number and percentage of students who enroll in
an institution of higher education in the school year
immediately following the students' high school graduation as
measured by externally verified school-wide college
enrollment data;
(2) the number and percentage of students who graduate
from high school on time with a regular high school diploma;
(3) the number and percentage of students at each grade
level who are on track to graduate from high school on time
and with a regular high school diploma;
(4) the number and percentage of senior high school
students who apply to an institution of higher education and
the average number of applications completed and submitted by
students;
(5) the number and percentage of senior high school
students who file the Free Application for Federal Student
Aid forms;
(6) the number and percentage of students in grade 10
who take early admissions assessments such as the Preliminary
Scholastic Aptitude Test;
(7) the number and percentage of students in grades 11
and 12 who take the Scholastic Aptitude Test or American
College Testing examination and the students' mean scores on
the assessments;
(8) where data are available, the number and percentage
of students enrolled in remedial mathematics or English
courses during their freshman year at an institution of
higher education;
(9) the number and percentage of students in grades 11
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and 12 enrolled in not less than two of the following:
(i) a dual credit course; or
(ii) an Advanced Placement or International
Baccalaureate course; and
(10) the number and percentage of students who scored
proficient or advanced on Pennsylvania System of School
Assessment tests in mathematics, science and English language
arts.
Section 8. Reporting of data.
An eligible school entity receiving a grant under this act
shall report to the department where possible the data required
under section 7. Where available, the data shall be
disaggregated by categories, including gender, race, ethnicity
and age.
Section 9. Evaluations by grantees.
An eligible school entity that receives a grant under this
act shall:
(1) conduct periodic evaluations of the effectiveness of
the activities carried out under the grant toward increasing
school-wide college-going rates;
(2) use the evaluations under paragraph (1) to refine
and improve activities conducted with the grant and the
performance measures for the activities; and
(3) make the results of the evaluations under paragraph
(1) publicly available, including by providing public notice
of the availability.
Section 10. Report.
The department shall:
(1) conduct an independent evaluation, by grant or
contract of the programs carried out under this act. The
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evaluation shall include an assessment of the impact of the
program on high school graduation rates and college-going
rates; and
(2) prepare and submit a report on the results of the
evaluation described in paragraph (1) to the chairman and the
minority chairman of the Education Committee of the Senate
and the chairman and the minority chairman of the Education
Committee of the House of Representatives.
Section 11. Duties of department.
The department shall adopt procedures, rules and forms
necessary to implement this act.
Section 12. Appropriation.
The sum of $25,000,000, or as much thereof as may be
necessary, is hereby appropriated to the department for the
fiscal years 2015-2016, 2016-2017, 2017-2018 and 2018-2019, to
carry out the provisions of this act.
Section 13. Effective date.
This act shall take effect in 60 days.
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