SB440: Virginia Guaranteed Assistance Program; eligibility; use of funds.


SENATE BILL NO. 440
AMENDMENT IN THE NATURE OF A SUBSTITUTE
(Proposed by the House Committee on Appropriations
on February 29, 2016)
(Patron Prior to Substitute--Senator Saslaw)
A BILL to amend and reenact § 23-38.53:6 of the Code of Virginia, relating to Virginia Guaranteed Assistance Program grants.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

1. That § 23-38.53:6 of the Code of Virginia is amended and reenacted as follows:

§ 23-38.53:6. Eligible students; criteria for awarding grants; renewals.

A. Only students who (i) are domiciled residents of Virginia as defined by § 23-7.4 and who are graduates of a high school in the Commonwealth with a cumulative secondary school grade point average of at least 2.5 on a scale of 4.0 or its equivalent, or (ii) are dependent children of active duty military personnel residing outside the Commonwealth pursuant to military orders and claiming Virginia on their State of Legal Residence Certificate and satisfying the domicile requirements for such active duty military personnel pursuant to subsection B of § 23-7.4, and who are graduates of a high school inside or outside the Commonwealth with a cumulative secondary school grade point average of at least 2.5 on a scale of 4.0 or its equivalent, and who (iii) (ii) (a) are accepted for enrollment as dependent students in any public institution of higher education in Virginia, and (iv) (b) are not receiving state discretionary aid a Virginia Commonwealth Award, and (c) demonstrate financial need as defined by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia shall be eligible to receive such awards grants.

B. The amount of the Guaranteed Assistance Program grant awarded students shall be determined annually by the State Council of Higher Education. Eligibility for such awards shall be determined according to the Congressional methodology for determining financial need and eligibility for financial aid. Each eligible student shall receive such a grant from the institution's appropriations for undergraduate student financial assistance before grants are awarded to students with equivalent remaining need.

C. Each eligible student shall receive a grant in an amount greater than other grants awarded to students with equivalent remaining need.

D. Beginning with first-time students enrolled in the fall semester in 2017, each eligible student shall receive a grant in an amount greater than the grant of each eligible student with equivalent remaining need in the next-lowest class level.

E. The amount of each grant shall vary according to each student's remaining need and the total of tuition, fees, and other necessary charges, including books. The actual amount of each grant shall be determined by the proportionate award schedule adopted by each institution.

C. F. All grants shall be awarded for one year, but may be renewed annually for no more than three subsequent years of study and students shall not receive subsequent grants until they have satisfied the requirements to move to the next class level. Each recipient may receive a maximum of one year of support per class level for a maximum total of four years of support at a four-year public institution of higher education and a maximum total of two years of support at a two-year public institution of higher education, provided that in no case shall a recipient receive more than a combined total of four years of support, if the recipient:

1. Maintains at least a 2.0 grade point average on a scale of 4.0 or its equivalent;

2. Demonstrates continued financial need;

3. Makes satisfactory academic progress toward a degree, earning not less than the minimum number of hours of credit required for full-time standing in each academic period during enrollment at a public institution of higher education in Virginia; and

4. Maintains continuous enrollment for not less than two semesters or three quarters in each successive academic year, unless granted an exception for cause by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.

SENATE BILL NO. 440

Offered January 13, 2016
Prefiled January 12, 2016
A BILL to amend and reenact § 23-38.53:6 of the Code of Virginia, relating to the Virginia Guaranteed Assistance Program; eligibility; use of funds.
Patron-- Saslaw

Referred to Committee on Education and Health

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

1. That § 23-38.53:6 of the Code of Virginia is amended and reenacted as follows:

§ 23-38.53:6. Eligible students; criteria for awarding grants; renewals.

A. Only students who (i) are domiciled residents of Virginia as defined by § 23-7.4 and who are graduates of a high school in the Commonwealth with a cumulative secondary school grade point average of at least 2.5 on a scale of 4.0 or its equivalent, or (ii) are dependent children of active duty military personnel residing outside the Commonwealth pursuant to military orders and claiming Virginia on their State of Legal Residence Certificate and satisfying the domicile requirements for such active duty military personnel pursuant to subsection B of § 23-7.4, and who are graduates of a high school inside or outside the Commonwealth with a cumulative secondary school grade point average of at least 2.5 on a scale of 4.0 or its equivalent, and who (iii) are accepted for full-time enrollment as dependent students in any public institution of higher education in Virginia, and (iv) are not receiving state discretionary aid and demonstrate financial need as defined by the State Council of Higher Education shall be eligible to receive such awards.

B. The amount of the Guaranteed Assistance Program grant awarded students shall be determined annually by the State Council of Higher Education. Eligibility for such awards shall be determined according to the Congressional methodology for determining financial need and eligibility for financial aid.

C. All grants shall be awarded for one year, but and may be renewed annually for no more than three subsequent years of study if the recipient:

1. Maintains at least a 2.0 grade point average on a scale of 4.0 or its equivalent;

2. Successfully completes a minimum of 30 credit hours in the immediate preceding award year, unless granted an exception for cause pursuant to Council regulations;

3. Demonstrates continued financial need;

3. 4. Makes satisfactory academic progress toward a degree, earning not less than the minimum number of hours of credit required for full-time standing in each academic period during enrollment at a public institution of higher education in Virginia; and

5. Enrolls full time;

4. 6. Maintains continuous full-time enrollment for not less than two semesters or three quarters in each successive academic year, unless granted an exception for cause by the State pursuant to Council of Higher Education regulations; and

7. Is enrolled in (i) a four-year public institution of higher education and has not met the credit hour threshold as defined in subsection F of § 23-7.4 or (ii) a two-year public institution of higher education and has received a grant under the Virginia Guaranteed Assistance Program for no more than two and a half years.

D. Public institutions of higher education may use Guaranteed Assistance Program funds to provide enhanced grants to students who are enrolled in at least 15 credit hours per term.

2. That the provisions of this act shall become effective beginning with first-time entering freshman class of the fall 2017 academic year.