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PRINTER'S NO. 1556
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
SENATE BILL
No.
1151
Session of
2024
INTRODUCED BY MARTIN, K. WARD, PITTMAN, AUMENT, ARGALL,
PENNYCUICK, LANGERHOLC, LAUGHLIN, MASTRIANO, REGAN, STEFANO,
VOGEL AND J. WARD, APRIL 26, 2024
REFERRED TO EDUCATION, APRIL 26, 2024
AN ACT
Amending the act of March 10, 1949 (P.L.30, No.14), entitled "An
act relating to the public school system, including certain
provisions applicable as well to private and parochial
schools; amending, revising, consolidating and changing the
laws relating thereto," in the State System of Higher
Education, further providing for definitions and establishing
the Grow Pennsylvania Merit Scholarship Program.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. Section 2001-A of the act of March 10, 1949
(P.L.30, No.14), known as the Public School Code of 1949,
amended July 8, 2022 (P.L.620, No.55), is amended to read:
Section 2001-A. Definitions.--The following words and
phrases when used in this article shall, for the purpose of this
article, have the following meanings, respectively, except in
those instances where the context clearly indicates a different
meaning:
[(1)] "Affiliated entity" shall mean a private nonprofit
corporation with the sole purpose of benefiting the State System
of Higher Education or a State-owned university.
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"Agency" shall mean the Pennsylvania Higher Education
Assistance Agency.
"Approved course of study" shall mean a program offered by an
institution that provides instruction in agriculture, computer
science, business, education, engineering, nursing, criminal
justice or other in-demand occupations approved by the agency in
consultation with the Independent Fiscal Office.
[(1.1)] "Board" shall mean the Board of Governors of the
State System of Higher Education.
"Campus police" shall mean all law enforcement personnel
employed by the system who have successfully completed a campus
police course of training approved under 53 Pa.C.S. Ch. 21
Subch. D (relating to municipal police education and training).
[(2)] "Chancellor" shall mean the chief executive officer of
the State System of Higher Education.
[(3)] "Coalition bargaining" shall mean two (2) or more
employers bargaining jointly with all of their employes in a
particular category or bargaining unit so that one collective
process would determine the conditions of employment for all
employers in the appropriate units involved.
[(4)] "Commission" shall mean the presidents of the several
institutions.
[(4.1)] "Commonwealth University of Pennsylvania" shall mean
the institution comprised of Bloomsburg University of
Pennsylvania, Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania and
Mansfield University of Pennsylvania as consolidated under
section 2002-A.
[(5)] "Council" shall mean the council of trustees of the
individual institutions.
[(6)] "Deferment" shall mean any authorized delay in the
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payment by a student of all or part of his tuition fee, charges
for room and board, application fee, student activity fee, or
any other charge or fee.
[(6.1)] "Education record" shall have the same meaning as in
the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (Public
Law 90-247, 20 U.S.C. ยง 1232g). ((6.1) added July 1, 2020,
P.L.558, No.50)
[(7)] "Employer" shall mean the Board of Governors of the
State System of Higher Education as the successor employer to
the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
[(8)] "Graduate assistant" means a graduate student
appointed by the president and assigned to a faculty or staff
member to assist in research, instruction and other related
professional duties.
"Grounds" shall mean all lands and buildings owned,
controlled, leased or managed by the system and all highways,
trafficways and bicycle and pedestrian facilities that traverse
or abut such lands and buildings.
[(9)] "Higher education" shall include any organized program
of instruction, research or service primarily concerned with a
field of organized knowledge, related theory, and associated
practice or application of skills and which leads to a degree;
that is, the work is creditable toward a degree.
"In-demand occupation" shall mean a job that is in demand by
employers in this Commonwealth, requires a high level of skill
and is likely to provide family-sustaining wages.
[(9.1)] "Initial member" shall mean a trustee serving on the
council of trustees as of June 30, 2022, for an institution
consolidated under section 2002-A that has been nominated and
appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate.
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[(10)] "Institution" shall mean each of the State-owned
colleges and university on the effective date hereof, or
hereafter created, and including its personnel, and its physical
plant, instructional equipment, records and all other property
thereof.
[(10.1)] "Integrated council" shall mean each of the
following:
(1) The Council of Trustees of Commonwealth University of
Pennsylvania.
(2) The Council of Trustees of Pennsylvania Western
University.
"Maintenance projects" shall mean those activities,
materials, labor and contracts necessary to replace, restore,
refurbish or enhance real property which do not alter the
architectural or engineering characteristics of the structure,
as follows: painting; window repair and replacement; roof repair
and replacement; repointing and masonry repair; downspout and
gutters; landscaping; roadways, parking facilities, track and
athletic court resurfacing and reconstruction; sidewalk and
curbing reconstruction and replacement; asbestos abatement (in
accordance with all State and Federal statutes and regulations);
caulking and insulation; and replacement, reconstruction and
construction of non-load-bearing interior walls. No such project
shall affect the structural integrity of any existing facility
or utility system.
"Merit scholarship" means the waiver of an amount equal to
the differential between tuition for a resident and nonresident
student.
[(10.2)] "Pennsylvania Western University" shall mean the
institution comprised of California University of Pennsylvania,
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Clarion University of Pennsylvania and Edinboro University of
Pennsylvania as consolidated under section 2002-A.
[(11)] "Professional employe" for the purposes of this act,
professional employe means any employe whose work:
[(i)] (1) is predominately intellectual and varied in
character;
[(ii)] (2) requires consistent exercise of discretion and
judgment;
[(iii)] (3) requires knowledge of an advanced nature in the
field of science or learning customarily acquired by specialized
study in an institution of higher learning or its equivalent;
and
[(iv)] (4) is of such character that the output or result
accomplished cannot be standardized in relation to a given
period of time.
"Program" means the Grow Pennsylvania Merit Scholarship
Program.
[(12)] "Refund" shall mean any return payment, or remission,
by an institution to a student of all or part of any sum he has
paid for tuition, room and board, application or student
activity fee or any other charge or fee.
[(13)] "Secretary" shall mean the Secretary of Education of
the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or such person as the secretary
may designate to act on behalf of the secretary with regard to
any of the duties and prerogatives imposed by this act.
[(14)] "State board" shall mean the State Board of
Education.
[(15)] "Student" shall mean a person who is enrolled in a
course of study in any institution which is subject to the
provisions hereof.
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[(16)] "Student association" shall mean the officially
recognized representative body of the student population of each
institution.
[(17)] "System" shall mean the State System of Higher
Education.
[(17.1)] "Transitional member" shall mean a trustee serving
on the council of trustees as of June 30, 2022, for an
institution consolidated under section 2002-A, who is appointed
to serve on an integrated council for a term beginning on July
15, 2022, until September 30, 2022, or upon confirmation of
initial members by the Senate, whichever occurs earlier.
[(18)] "Waiver" shall mean any release from initial payment
by a student of all or part of his tuition, charge for room and
board, application or student activity fee or any other charge
or fee.
[(19) "Maintenance projects" shall mean those activities,
materials, labor and contracts necessary to replace, restore,
refurbish or enhance real property which do not alter the
architectural or engineering characteristics of the structure,
as follows: painting; window repair and replacement; roof repair
and replacement; repointing and masonry repair; downspout and
gutters; landscaping; roadways, parking facilities, track and
athletic court resurfacing and reconstruction; sidewalk and
curbing reconstruction and replacement; asbestos abatement (in
accordance with all State and Federal statutes and regulations);
caulking and insulation; and replacement, reconstruction and
construction of non-load bearing interior walls. No such project
shall affect the structural integrity of any existing facility
or utility system.
(20) "Campus police" shall mean all law enforcement
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personnel employed by the system who have successfully completed
a campus police course of training approved under 53 Pa.C.S. Ch.
21 Subch. D (relating to municipal police education and
training).
(21) "Grounds" shall mean all lands and buildings owned,
controlled, leased or managed by the system and all highways,
trafficways and bicycle and pedestrian facilities that traverse
or abut such lands and buildings.]
Section 2. The act is amended by adding a section to read:
Section 2022-A. Grow Pennsylvania Merit Scholarship
Program.-- (a) Beginning with the class of first-time freshmen
enrolling for the 2025-2026 academic year, the system shall
administer a program, which is established and shall be known as
the Grow Pennsylvania Merit Scholarship Program, that awards
merit scholarships to eligible nonresident students.
(b) To be eligible for receipt of a merit scholarship, an
eligible nonresident student must:
(1) Demonstrate a grade point average of at least 2.50 on a
4.0 scale.
(2) Be enrolled in person in an approved course of study.
(3) Enter into a written agreement with the agency to:
(i) Satisfy all degree requirements and other requirements
of this section.
(ii) Commence employment in this Commonwealth within one
year after completion of an approved course of study culminating
in a bachelor's or associate's degree. The employment must be in
a field, as determined by the agency, related to the approved
course of study for a period of fifteen months of each academic
year the student received a merit scholarship, unless the agency
determines that there are extenuating circumstances.
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(iii) Reimburse the agency all amounts waived under this
section, including interest, as determined by the agency, if the
student breaches the agreement.
(c) The agency shall monitor and verify a student's
compliance with the agreement and enforce repayment of all merit
scholarships for a student who does not comply with the
provisions of this section, including lawful collection
procedures and of private collection agencies.
(d) A scholarship shall be for a maximum of four academic
years.
(e) If a student terminates enrollment in the approved
course of study during the academic year or prior to completion
of the approved course of study, an institution shall notify the
agency in writing.
(f) Money reimbursed to the agency under this section shall
be transferred to the system.
(g) (1) The agency shall postpone the work requirement
under subsection (b)(3) for extenuating circumstances, as
determined by the agency, or if the student enrolls in a higher
level degree program.
(2) A student that enrolls in a higher level degree program
must provide the agency with documentation showing continual
status as a full-time student in order to be given a
postponement by the agency under this section.
(h) A merit scholarship received by a student shall not be
considered taxable income for purposes of Article III of the act
of March 4, 1971 (P.L.6, No.2), known as the "Tax Reform Code of
1971."
(i) The agency shall provide assistance to the system as
necessary to administer the program.
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(j) The system, in consultation with the agency, shall
prepare and submit to the Governor and the General Assembly no
later than December 31, 2025, and each year thereafter, a report
detailing the operation of the program. The report shall, at a
minimum, include:
(1) A list of the in-demand occupations for which grants may
be sought.
(2) The number of merit scholarships applicants.
(3) The number of merit scholarships awarded.
(4) The number of merit scholarships awarded by approved
source of study.
(5) The number of merit scholarships awarded by institution.
(6) The average amount of the merit scholarship.
(7) The number of merit scholarship recipients that are
employed and meeting the work requirement under subsection (b)
(3).
(8) The number of merit scholarship recipients that have not
met the work requirement.
(9) The amount of money reimbursed to the system by merit
scholarship recipients that have not met the work requirement.
Section 3. This act shall take effect in 60 days.
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