PRIOR PRINTER'S NO. 519

PRINTER'S NO.  3457

  

THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA

  

HOUSE BILL

 

No.

467

Session of

2009

  

  

INTRODUCED BY BOYLE, PAYTON, R. TAYLOR, EACHUS, K. SMITH, WAGNER, YOUNGBLOOD, YUDICHAK, LEVDANSKY, BRENNAN, BROWN, D. COSTA, DePASQUALE, DONATUCCI, DRUCKER, FABRIZIO, FREEMAN, GEIST, GEORGE, GOODMAN, HENNESSEY, HORNAMAN, JOHNSON, JOSEPHS, W. KELLER, KIRKLAND, KORTZ, MAHONEY, McGEEHAN, MELIO, D. O'BRIEN, PARKER, M. O'BRIEN, READSHAW, REICHLEY, SABATINA, SANTONI, SIPTROTH, SOLOBAY, WALKO, WANSACZ, GIBBONS, STURLA, GRUCELA, MENSCH AND LONGIETTI, FEBRUARY 18, 2009

  

  

AS REPORTED FROM COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, AS AMENDED, MARCH 24, 2010   

  

  

  

AN ACT

  

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Establishing a Statewide academic scholarship program to be

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known as the Reliable Educational Assistance for College

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Hopefuls Scholarship; and providing for the powers and duties

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of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency.

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The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

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hereby enacts as follows:

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Section 1.  Short title.

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This act shall be known and may be cited as the Reliable

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Educational Assistance for College Hopefuls Scholarship Act.

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Section 2.  Purpose.

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The purpose of this act is to reward educational excellence

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and provide an incentive to Pennsylvania students to pursue

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higher education within this Commonwealth.

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Section 3.  Definitions.

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The following words and phrases when used in this act shall

 


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have the meanings given to them in this section unless the

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context clearly indicates otherwise:

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"Agency."  The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance

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Agency.

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"Fund."  The REACH Scholarship Fund established in section 6.

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"Grade point average."  The numbered grade average calculated

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using a 4.0 scale.

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"Private institution of higher education."  An institution of

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higher education located in this Commonwealth that provides an

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organized four-year program of undergraduate instruction toward

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a baccalaureate degree and that is not a State-owned institution

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or State-related institution.

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"REACH."  The Reliable Educational Assistance for College

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Hopefuls Scholarship established under section 4.

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"State-owned institution."  An institution that is part of

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the State System of Higher Education pursuant to Article XX-A of

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the act of March 10, 1949 (P.L.30, No.14), known as the Public

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School Code of 1949.

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"State-related institution."  Any of the following: The

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Pennsylvania State University, the University of Pittsburgh,

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Temple University and Lincoln University and their branch

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campuses.

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"Student."  A school-age resident of this Commonwealth who

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attends or is about to attend a State-owned institution, State-

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related institution or private institution of higher education

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located in this Commonwealth.

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Section 4.  REACH Scholarship.

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(a)  Establishment.--The REACH Scholarship is established

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within the agency.

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(b)  Issuance of scholarships.--

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(1)  The agency shall provide scholarships, which may be

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referred to as REACH Scholarships, to all students who meet

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the requirements of subsection (d) or (f). The scholarships

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may be issued to a student only upon confirmation from the

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State-owned institution, State-related institution or private

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institution of higher education to which the student has

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enrolled full time.

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(2)  The scholarships shall be available for four years

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or upon completion of a baccalaureate degree, whichever

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occurs earlier.

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(3)  The scholarships shall only be used for tuition and

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mandatory fees.

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(4)  The scholarships shall be awarded solely on the

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basis of merit and without regard to need.

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(5)  The scholarships shall only be awarded to students

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who are high school seniors during or after the school year

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in which this section takes effect.

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(c)  Calculation of award.--

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(1)  Each eligible student who will attend or attends a

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State-owned institution shall receive a full-tuition

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scholarship.

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(2)  Each eligible student who will attend or attends a

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State-related institution or private institution of higher

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education shall receive the lesser of a full-tuition

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scholarship or a scholarship equal to the average tuition at

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the State-owned institutions as calculated annually by the

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agency.

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(d)  Eligibility.--To receive a scholarship under this

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section, a student must meet all of the following requirements:

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(1)  Pennsylvania residency for at least three years

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prior to application for the REACH Scholarship.

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(2)  Pennsylvania residency during the term of the

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scholarship.

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(3)  Cumulative high school grade point average of 3.0 or

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higher for the sophomore, junior and senior years of high

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school. If the student does not graduate from high school or

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completes a home study program meeting the requirements of

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section 1327.1 of the act of March 10, 1949 (P.L.30, No.14),

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known as the Public School Code of 1949, the agency shall

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determine the eligibility of the student.

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(4)  Cumulative high school attendance of at least 90%

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for the sophomore, junior and senior years of high school

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unless the agency determines there are extenuating

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circumstances, including, but not limited to, approved

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medical or personal leave of absence. If the student does not

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graduate from high school but completes a home study program

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meeting the requirements of section 1327.1 of the Public

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School Code of 1949, the agency shall determine the

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eligibility of the student.

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(5)  Satisfactory disciplinary record or conduct record

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for the sophomore, junior and senior years of high school. If

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the student does not meet this requirement but meets or

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exceeds all other requirements under this subsection, the

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agency shall determine eligibility of the student.

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(6)  Satisfactory academic progress toward completion of

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a course of study at a State-owned institution, State-related

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institution or private institution of higher education as

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provided under subsection (f).

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(7)  Entrance into a written agreement with the agency to

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maintain Pennsylvania residency for four years after

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completion of an undergraduate a baccalaureate degree. The

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student shall reimburse the Commonwealth all amounts received

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under this act and interest thereon, at a rate equal to the

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average Stafford loan through the term of the scholarship, if

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the student fails to comply with the terms of the written

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agreement.

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(8)  Apply for the Free Application for Federal Student

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Aid each year during the term of the scholarship.

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(9)  Complete at least 100 hours of community service

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each academic year. The community service must be documented

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by a supervisor and approved by the agency.

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(e)  Contents of application.--The application of a student

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who seeks a scholarship as prescribed by the agency must

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include:

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(1)  All information and documentation required by the

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agency.

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(2)  If the student is under 18 years of age, the

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signature of a parent or guardian.

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(3)  A verified statement of grade point average,

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attendance and disciplinary record or conduct record from the

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appropriate educational institution.

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(f)  Maintenance of scholarship.--

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(1)  Except as provided under paragraph (2), a student

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must maintain a grade point average of 3.0 or higher during

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each semester at a State-owned institution, State-related

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institution or private institution of higher education

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through the term of the scholarship, unless the agency

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determines that there are extenuating circumstances,

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including, but not limited to, approved medical or personal

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leave of absence.

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(2)  In the event that a student receives a grade point

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average below 3.0 during the first or second semester of the

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freshmen or first year a semester at a State-owned

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institution, State-related institution or private institution

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of higher education, the agency shall place the student on

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scholarship probation. If a student on scholarship probation

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receives a grade point average below 3.0 in any following

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semester, the scholarship shall be terminated.

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(3)  A student must complete 40 hours of community

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service during each 12-month period during the term of the

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scholarship, which community service must be verified by the

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agency.

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(g)  Scholarship termination and transfer.--

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(1)  If a student who has received a scholarship

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terminates enrollment in the educational institution to which

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the student has enrolled full time during the academic year,

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the educational institution shall notify the agency in

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writing and shall return all unused portions of the

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scholarship.

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(2)  Returned amounts shall be deposited in the REACH

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Scholarship Fund.

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(3)  A student may transfer a scholarship from one State-

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owned institution, State-related institution or private

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institution of higher education to another.

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(h)  Limitation.--A scholarship shall be paid only from the

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REACH Scholarship Fund.

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Section 5.  Administration.

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(a)  Verification.--The agency shall monitor and verify a

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student's compliance with all the requirements under this act.

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(b)  Enforcement.--The agency shall enforce repayment of all

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scholarships for a student who does not comply with the

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provisions of this act, to include use of all lawful collection

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procedures and the use of private collection agencies.

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(c)  Exclusion from taxation.--No scholarship received by a

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student shall not be considered taxable income for purposes of

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Article III of the act of March 4, 1971 (P.L.6, No.2), known as

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the Tax Reform Code of 1971.

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(d)  Financial assistance.--No scholarship received by a

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student shall be considered financial assistance or

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appropriations to the approved education institution.

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(e)  Regulations.--The agency shall adopt regulations and

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procedures necessary to carry out the purposes of this act.

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Section 6.  REACH Scholarship Fund.

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(a)  Establishment.--The REACH Scholarship Fund is

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established as a separate fund in the State Treasury.

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(b)  Administration.--The fund shall be administered by the

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agency.

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(c)  Use of fund.--The purpose of the fund shall be to

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provide full tuition scholarships or equivalent scholarships to

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students who have been determined eligible in accordance with

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this act.

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(d)  Funding source.--

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(1)  Donations and contributions from all public and

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private sources, including the Federal Government, and any

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appropriations or transfers authorized by the General

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Assembly may be deposited in the fund.

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(2)  All interest earned by the fund and all refunds and

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repayments shall be credited to the fund.

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Section 7.  Report to General Assembly.

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On or before April 1 following the effective date of this

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section, and in each succeeding year in which REACH Scholarships

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are awarded, the agency shall provide a report to the General

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Assembly regarding the implementation and administration of this

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act.

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Section 8.  Effective date.

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This act shall take effect July 1, 2009 2010, or immediately,

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whichever is later.

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