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Introduced Version House Bill 3351 History

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hb3351 intr
H. B. 3351


(By Mr. Speaker, Mr. Kiss, and Delegates Amores,
Beane, Campbell, Kominar, Mahan, Michael,
Perry, Pino, Staton and Varner)

[Introduced March 25, 2005; referred to the
Committee on Education then Finance.]

A BILL to repeal §18C-8-1, §18C-8-2 and §18C-8-3 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended; and to amend said code by adding thereto a new section, designated §18C-8-1, all relating to student financial aid; creating the West Virginia Byrd Scholarship Program; legislative findings and purpose; program administration and eligibility and selection criteria; award renewal; requiring promulgation of legislative rule, and authorizing promulgation of emergency rule; and providing that in any year scholarships may only be awarded under certain circumstances.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §18C-8-1, §18C-8-2 and §18C-8-3 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be repealed; and that said code be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated §18C-8-1, to read as follows:
ARTICLE 8. MISCELLANEOUS.
§18C-8-1. West Virginia Byrd Scholarship Program.
(a) The Legislature finds that the Honorable Robert Carlyle Byrd began his tenure of continuous public service with his initial election to the West Virginia House of Delegates in 1946; followed by his initial election to the West Virginia Senate in 1950; and his initial election to the United States House of Representatives in 1952; and ultimately his initial election to the United States Senate in 1958. Senator Robert C. Byrd has been returned to office by the grateful citizens of West Virginia at the conclusion of each of his terms as United States Senator since 1958, and is the longest-serving United States Senator in West Virginia history.
(1) The Legislature finds that the Honorable Robert C. Byrd has held more leadership positions in the United States Senate than any other member in Senate history; has cast more votes than any other member in Senate history; and has reached the pinnacle of national respect and admiration.
(2) The Legislature finds that Senator Robert C. Byrd has led an exemplary life that is marked by his numerous accomplishments and his dedication to the State of West Virginia. The people of West Virginia are indebted to Senator Byrd for his inspirational leadership and the many benefits he has brought to the state. The Honorable Robert C. Byrd has remained loyal to the traditional values and culture of West Virginia, and has worked tirelessly to promote the interests of West Virginians and the state.
(3) The Legislature finds that the "Byrd Honors Scholars" who receive federal Robert C.
Byrd Honors Scholarship Program awards are highly deserving individuals who have demonstrated outstanding academic abilities and achievement. It is fitting therefore that the program's name designation honors a West Virginian whose long and distinguished public service career has earned him the distinctions of the West Virginia "1901-2000 Citizen of the Century"; the "West Virginian of the Year" on three occasions; and the U. S. News and World Report poll of American leaders as "Most Influential American" on four occasions.
(4) The Legislature recognizes and endorses the purpose of the federal Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship Program to promote student excellence and achievement and to recognize exceptionally able students who show promise of continued academic excellence.
Therefore, it is the Legislature's intent to preserve the purpose of the program in such years that federal funding is not appropriated to the state for the federal Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship Program.
(b) There is created the "West Virginia Byrd Scholarship Program", to be administered by the Vice Chancellor for Administration.

(1) Award recipients are selected by the Vice Chancellor for Administration in a manner that ensures an equitable geographic distribution of awards within the state.
(2)
The Higher Education Policy Commission shall establish a selection method that takes into consideration an applicant's grade point average and score on either the American College Test (ACT) or the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). The Commission may include additional factors in the selection method as it determines appropriate.
(3) Eligibility criteria include the following:
(A) Graduation from a high school in this state, or attainment of a General Education Diploma (GED) for a student educated pursuant to the provisions of
exemption K, section one, article eight, chapter eighteen of this code;
(B) Admission for enrollment at a regionally or nationally accredited higher education institution in any state; and
(C) Any other criteria determined appropriate by the Commission to further the intent of this section.
(c) Each initial and renewal award is for the amount of one thousand five hundred dollars for the academic year of study for which the scholarship is awarded.
(1) The number of initial scholarships awarded in any year is determined by the funds remaining after the amount required for renewal awards is deducted from the total amount of the legislative appropriation.
(2) An award is renewable for up to three academic years beyond the initial award, and may be used for undergraduate or graduate course-work.
(d) Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, a scholarship award:
(1) Is in addition to any other student financial assistance received from any source;
(2) Is not limited by the cost of attendance at the institution in which the recipient is enrolled; and
(3) May not be included or considered:
(A) As part of any needs test in connection with the awarding of any grant or loan; nor
(B) In any calculation performed pursuant to a requirement in this code that financial assistance be reduced when the total amount from all sources exceeds the cost of attendance at the institution in which the recipient is enrolled.
(e) The Commission shall promulgate a legislative rule in accordance with the provisions of article three-a, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code, for the administration of the Scholarship Program.
(1) The rule shall include award selection criteria, procedures, renewal and compliance, and such other components as the Commission determines appropriate to implement the provisions of this section.

(2) The Legislature finds that an emergency exists and, therefore, the Commission shall file the rule required by this subsection as an emergency rule pursuant to the provisions of article three-a, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code, subject to the prior approval of the Legislative Oversight Commission on Education Accountability.

(f) West Virginia Byrd Scholarships are awarded from any appropriation which may be made by the Legislature for this purpose. West Virginia Byrd Scholarship grants may be awarded only in years in which federal funding is not appropriated to the state for the federal Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship Program.



NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to repeal §18C-8-1, §18C-8-2 and §18C-8-3 and to establish the West Virginia Byrd Scholarship Program.

§18C-8-1 is new; therefore, strike-throughs and underscoring have been omitted.
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