Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

 

Substitute Bill No. 353

    February Session, 2018

 

*_____SB00353HED___031918____*

AN ACT CONCERNING THE CREATION OF THE CONNECTICUT HOPE SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2018) (a) As used in this section:

(1) "Full-time undergraduate student" means a student who is enrolled at a public institution of higher education in a course of study leading to such student's first associate or bachelor's degree and who is carrying twelve or more semester credit hours at such institution of higher education;

(2) "Public institution of higher education" means the constituent units of the state system of higher education identified in subdivisions (1) and (2) of section 10a-1 of the general statutes; and

(3) "Eligible educational costs" means the tuition and required fees for an individual student that are published by each public institution of higher education participating in the grant program established under this section, plus a fixed amount for required books and educational supplies, as determined by the Office of Higher Education.

(b) The state, acting through the Office of Higher Education, may establish the Connecticut Hope Scholarship program to annually make merit-based financial aid available for eligible educational costs for Connecticut residents enrolled as full-time undergraduate students at public institutions of higher education. Any award made to a student under this section shall be renewable annually, provided such student meets and continues to meet the grade point average requirement set forth in subsection (c) of this section.

(c) The Connecticut Hope Scholarship shall be available to any Connecticut resident who (1) is enrolled as a full-time undergraduate student at a public institution of higher education, (2) graduated with an overall grade point average of at least 3.5 from a public high school in the state not more than four years prior to enrolling as a full-time undergraduate student at a public institution of higher education, and (3) maintains an undergraduate college overall grade point average of at least 3.5.

(d) The Office of Higher Education shall make scholarship awards in an amount equal to the eligible educational costs for a student at the public institution of higher education at which such student is enrolled. The enrolling public institution of higher education shall expend all of the scholarship money received under this section as direct financial assistance only for eligible educational costs.

(e) The Connecticut Hope Scholarship program shall include an administrative allowance based on one-quarter of one per cent of the available appropriations, but not less than one hundred thousand dollars.

(f) Public institutions of higher education shall annually provide the Office of Higher Education with data and reports on all students who receive a scholarship under this section, in a form and at a time determined by said office. Each public institution of higher education shall maintain, for a period of not less than three years, records substantiating the reported number of students and documentation utilized by the public institution of higher education in determining eligibility of the student scholarship recipients. Such records shall be subject to review or audit pursuant to subsection (g) of this section.

(g) In administering the Connecticut Hope Scholarship program, the Office of Higher Education shall develop and utilize fiscal procedures designed to ensure accountability of the public funds expended. Such procedures shall include provisions for compliance reviews that shall be conducted by the Office of Higher Education on any public institution of higher education. Commencing with the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019, and biennially thereafter, each public institution of higher education shall submit the results of an audit done by an independent certified public accountant of records maintained pursuant to subsection (f) of this section.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

July 1, 2018

New section

HED

Joint Favorable Subst.