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Introduced Version Senate Bill 719 History

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Senate Bill No. 719

(By Senator Unger)

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[Introduced March 21, 2005; referred to the Committee

on Education; and then to the Committee on Finance.]

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A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new section, designated §18C-2-8a, relating to creating the Student Loan Forgiveness Program; and forgiving student loans, in whole or in part, for certain residents who graduate from institutions of higher education and who apply their degrees in agriculture to family farms, the practice of veterinary medicine or teaching an agriculture curriculum within this state.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:

That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated §18C-2-8a, to read as follows:

ARTICLE 2. GUARANTEED STUDENT LOAN PROGRAM.

§18C-2-8a. Student Loan Forgiveness Program.

(a) This section shall be known as the Agriculture Education Loan Forgiveness Program Act. Its purpose is to provide a Student Loan Forgiveness Program for certain residents who graduate from institutions of higher education and who apply their degrees in agriculture to family farms, the practice of veterinary medicine or teaching an agriculture curriculum within this state.
(b) The following words and phrases when used in this section shall have the meanings given to them in this section unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
(1) "Commission" means the Higher Education Policy Commission.
(2) "Agricultural products." Crops, livestock and livestock products and commodities, including, but not limited to:
(A) Field crops, including corn, wheat, oats, rye, barley, hay, potatoes and dry beans.
(B) Fruits, including apples, peaches, grapes, cherries and berries.
(C) Vegetables, including tomatoes, snap beans, cabbage, carrots, beets, onions and mushrooms.
(D) Horticultural specialties, including nursery stock, ornamental shrubs, ornamental trees and flowers.
(E) Cattle, sheep, hogs, goats, horses, poultry, furbearing animals, milk, eggs and furs.
(F) Timber, wood and other wood products derived from trees.
(G) Aquatic plants and animals and their by-products.
(H) Products derived from any of the above and other products derived from the business of farming, including such other products as may be manufactured, derived or prepared from the heretofore mentioned products, raw or processed, which are used as food for man or animals.
(3) "Family farm" means real property of a farm owned by members of an immediate family or by a family farm corporation used for the production, for commercial purposes, of agricultural products.
(4) "Family farm corporation" means corporation of which at least seventy-five percent of its assets are devoted to the business of agriculture and at least seventy-five percent of each class of stock of the corporation is continuously owned by members of the immediate family.
(5) "Immediate family member" means a spouse, child, stepchild, parent, stepparent, grandparent, brother, stepbrother, sister, stepsister or like relative-in-law of an owner of real property.
(6) "Mixed practice of veterinary medicine" means as described by the American Veterinary Medical Association, that type of clinical veterinary practice or consultation which deals with more than one categorical species, including, but not limited to, agricultural animals.
(7) "Practice of veterinary medicine" means the practice in the field of veterinary medicine by any person qualified by educational training and experience in the science and techniques of veterinary medicine and who is currently licensed to practice veterinary medicine by the State Board of Veterinary Medicine.
(8) "Qualified applicant" means a resident of this state who meets the criteria in all of the following:
(A) Holds:
(i) A degree in a field related to the production of agricultural products from an accredited college or university;
(ii) A current certification;
(iii) A degree in the field of veterinary medicine, from an institution of higher education located within this state approve by the agency for participation under this section.
(B) Has commenced:
(i) The first year of full-time employment or work on a family farm on or after the first day of July, one thousand nine hundred ninety-one;
(ii) The first year of full-time employment teaching an agricultural curriculum at the elementary or secondary level in a public or private school on or after the effective date of this subparagraph; or
(iii) The practice of veterinary medicine, a portion of which activity must be for the protection and enhancement of agricultural animal health and productivity, on or after the first day of July, one thousand nine hundred ninety-one.
(C) Has:
(i) Borrowed through the agency-administered guaranteed student loan program. For an educational institution located in this state; or
(ii) For individuals who have commenced work under paragraph (2) (i) or practice under paragraph (2) (iii), borrowed through the agency-administered guaranteed student loan programs for an accredited college or university.
(9) "U.S.D.A. certification" means certification by the United States Department of Agriculture that a graduate veterinarian has successfully passed an examination and is certified to sign health certificates allowing the interstate commerce of agricultural animals and animal products as well as the ability to certify regulatory testing such as bovine tuberculosis and brucellosis.
(10) "Veterinary medicine" means that branch of medicine which deals with the diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, administration, prescription, operation or manipulation or application of any apparatus or appliance for any disease, pain, deformity, defect, injury, wound or physical condition of any animal or for the prevention of or the testing for the presence of any disease. (c) Eligibility.-- Qualified applicants who are selected for the Agriculture Education Loan Forgiveness Program, in accordance with this section, shall be eligible for payment by the agency of a portion of the debt incurred by the applicant through the Commission Administered Guaranteed Student Loan Program for the education necessary to receive a degree in an agriculturally related field.
(d) Time.-- The Commission shall forgive a proportional part of the applicant's loan for each year that the applicant:
(1) Is employed full time on a family farm or works full time on a family farm, a portion of which must be located within the state, or;
(2) Is a qualified applicant and is engaged as a full-time teacher of an agricultural curriculum at the elementary or secondary level in a public or private school within this state; or
(3) Is engaged in the mixed practice of veterinary medicine within this state, a portion of which activity must be for the protection and enhancement of agricultural animal health and productivity, and who has obtained U.S.D.A. certification.
(e) Maximum forgiveness.-- No more than two thousand dollars shall be forgiven in any year, and no more than ten thousand dollars shall be forgiven for any applicant. Awards shall be made in accordance with the procedures established by the agency.
(f) Funding.-- Loan forgiveness awards shall be made to the extent that funds are appropriated by the Legislature. If funds appropriated are insufficient to provide awards to all eligible applicants, awards shall be made to eligible applicants on a pro rata basis.



NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to create the "Student Loan Forgiveness Program" in order to forgive student loans, in whole or in part, for certain residents who graduate from institutions of higher education and who apply their degrees in agriculture to family farms, the practice of veterinary medicine or teaching an agriculture curriculum within this state.

This section is new; therefore, strike-throughs and underscoring have been omitted.
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