Senate Bill No. 719
(By Senator Unger)
[Introduced March 21, 2005; referred to the Committee
on Education; and then to the Committee on Finance.]
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
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
(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
(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
(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,
(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:
(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
(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
(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.
(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.
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
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
(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.
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
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.