(a) It is the purpose of this article to improve the quality of education in the public schools of West Virginia by encouraging and enabling West Virginia resident individuals who have demonstrated outstanding academic abilities to pursue teaching careers at the preschool, elementary, middle or secondary levels in the public schools of this state. In addition, of those individuals who have demonstrated outstanding academic abilities to pursue teaching careers, for scholarships initially awarded for the fall semester, one thousand nine hundred ninety-eight, and thereafter, particular efforts will be made in the scholarship selection criteria and procedures to reflect the state's present and projected teacher needs, including needs statewide and in different geographic areas and for teachers with education and training in specific disciplines.
(b) The higher education governing boards shall, in consultation with the state superintendent of schools, promulgate reasonable legislative rules in accordance with the provisions of article three-a, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code, for the administration of the Underwood-Smith teacher scholarship program by the senior administrator in furtherance of the purposes of this article, including, but not limited to, scholarship selection criteria and procedures, renewal, compliance, noncompliance and repayment, deferral and excusal. In accordance with such rules, the senior administrator shall establish appropriate guidelines forprogram operation.
(c) There is hereby created in the state treasury a special revolving fund to be known as the "Underwood-Smith Teacher Scholarship Fund" to be administered by the senior administrator solely for granting scholarships to prospective teachers in accordance with this article. Any moneys which may be appropriated by the Legislature, or received by the senior administrator from other sources, for the purposes of this article shall be deposited in the fund. Any moneys remaining in the fund at the close of a fiscal year shall be carried forward for use in the next fiscal year. Any moneys repaid to the senior administrator by reason of default of a scholarship agreement under this article shall also be deposited in the fund. Fund balances shall be invested with the state's consolidated investment fund, and any and all interest earnings on these investments shall be used solely for the purposes for which moneys invested were appropriated or otherwise received.
(d) The senior administrator may accept and expend any gift, grant, contribution, bequest, endowment or other money for the purposes of this article and shall make a reasonable effort to encourage external support for the scholarship program.
(e) For the purpose of encouraging support for the scholarship program from private sources, the senior administrator may set aside no more than half of the funds appropriated by the Legislature for Underwood-Smith teacher scholarships to be used to match two state dollars to each private dollar from a nonstatesource contributed on behalf of a specific institution of higher education in this state.
(b) Eligibility for an Underwood-Smith teacher scholarship award shall be limited to West Virginia resident students who:
(1) Have graduated or are graduating from high school and rank in the top ten percent of their graduating class or the top ten percent statewide of those West Virginia students taking the American college test;
(2) Have a cumulative grade point average of at least three and twenty-five one hundredths on a possible scale of four after successfully completing two years of course work at an approved institution of higher education;
(3) Are public school aides or paraprofessionals as defined in section eight, article four, chapter eighteen-a of this code and who have a cumulative grade point average of at least three and twenty-five one hundredths on a possible scale of four after successfully completing two years of course work at an approved institution of higher education; or
(4) Are graduate students at the master's degree level who have graduated or are graduating in the top ten percent of their college graduating class.
(c) In accordance with the rules of the commission, the vice chancellor for administration shall develop criteria and procedures for the selection of scholarship recipients that reflect the purposes of this article and the areas in which particular efforts will be made in the selection of scholars as set forth in section one of this article and which also may include, but not be limited to, the grade point average of the applicant, involvement in extracurricular activities, financial need, current academic standing and an expression of interest in teaching as expressed in an essay written by the applicant. Such criteria and procedures further may require the applicant to furnish letters of recommendation from teachers and others. It is the intent of the Legislature that academic abilities be the primary criteria for selecting scholarship recipients: Provided, That the qualified applicants with the highest academic abilities who intend to pursue teaching careers in areas of critical need and shortage as determined by the state board of education shall be given priority.
(d) In developing the selection criteria and procedures to be used by the panel, the vice chancellor for administration shall solicit the views of public and private education agencies and institutions and other interested parties. These views: (1) Shall be solicited by means of written and published selection criteria and procedures in final form for implementation; and (2) may be solicited by means of public hearings on the present and projected teacher needs of the state or any other methods the vice chancellor for administration may determine to be appropriate to gather the information.
(e) The vice chancellor for administration shall make application forms for Underwood-Smith teacher scholarships available to public and private high schools in the state and in other locations convenient to applicants, parents and others, and shall make an effort to attract students from low-income backgrounds, ethnic or racial minority students, students with disabilities, and women or minority students who show interest in pursuing teaching careers in mathematics and science and who are underrepresented in those fields.
(a) Each recipient of an Underwood-Smith teacher scholarship shall enter into an agreement with the senior administrator under which the recipient shall:
(1) Provide the board with evidence of compliance with subsection (a), section four of this article;
(2) Within a ten-year period after completing the teacher education for which the scholarship was awarded; and
(A) Teach full-time under contract with a county board of education in a public education program in the state for a period of not less than two years for each year for which a scholarship was received, or teach full-time under contract with a county board of education in this state in a teacher shortage area as determined by the state board of education, in an exceptional children program in this state, in a school having less than average academic results, or in a school in an economically disadvantaged area of this state for not less than one year for each year for which a scholarship was received; or
(B) Within such ten-year period while seeking and unable to secure a full-time teaching position under contract with a county board of education which satisfies the conditions of paragraph (A) of this subdivision: (i) Teach full-time in a private school, parochial or other school approved under exemption (A) or (K) for the instruction of students of compulsory school age pursuant to section one, article eight, chapter eighteen of this code, or in ahigher educational institution in this state or post-secondary vocational education program in this state as defined in section two, article one, chapter eighteen-b of this code, for a period of not less than two years for each year for which a scholarship was received; or (ii) perform alternative service or employment in this state pursuant to guidelines adopted in accordance with the rules of the governing boards in federal, state, county or local supported programs with an educational component, including mental or physical health care, or with bona fide tax exempt charitable organizations dedicated to the above, for a period of not less than two years for each year for which a scholarship was received.
Any teaching time accrued as a substitute teacher for a county board of education under paragraph (A) or (B) of this subdivision shall be credited pro rata in accordance with rules of the governing boards; or
(3) Repay all or part of an Underwood-Smith teacher scholarship received under this article plus interest and, if applicable, reasonable collection fees, in accordance with subsection (b), section four of this article, except as provided in subsections (c) and (d) of said section four.
(b) Scholarship agreements shall fully disclose the terms and conditions under which assistance under this article is provided and under which repayment may be required, including:
(1) A description of the conditions and procedures to be established under section four of this article; and
(2) A description of the appeals procedure required to be established under section four of this article.
(c) Individuals who were awarded an Underwood-Smith teacher scholarship prior to the effective date of this section may apply the provisions of paragraph (A) or (B), subdivision (2), subsection (a) of this section to teaching or other service performed by them after the first day of July, one thousand nine
(a) The recipient of an Underwood-Smith teacher scholarship is eligible for scholarship renewal only during such periods that the recipient is:
(1) Enrolled as a full-time student in an accredited institution of higher education in this state;
(2) Pursuing a course of study leading to teacher certification at the preschool, elementary, middle or secondary level in this state;
(3) Maintaining satisfactory progress as determined by the institution of higher education the recipient is attending; and
(4) Complying with such other standards as the boards may establish by rule.
(b) Recipients found to be in noncompliance with the agreement entered into under section three of this article shall be required to repay the amount of the scholarship awards received, plus interest, and, where applicable, reasonable collection fees, on a schedule and at a rate of interest prescribed in the program guidelines. Such guidelines shall also provide for proration of the amount to be repaid by a recipient who teaches for part of the period required under subsection (a), section three of this article and for appeal procedures under which a recipient may appeal any determination of noncompliance.
(c) A recipient shall not be considered in violation of the agreement entered into under section three of this article duringany period in which the recipient is:
(1) Pursuing a full-time course of study at an accredited institution of higher education;
(2) Serving, not in excess of four years, as a member of the armed services of the United States;
(3) Seeking and unable to find full-time employment in accordance with paragraph (A), subdivision (2), subsection (a), section three of this article and is fulfilling any of the alternatives specified in paragraph (B) of said subdivision; or
(4) Satisfying the provisions of additional repayment exemptions that may be prescribed by the boards by rule.
(d) A recipient shall be excused from repayment of a teacher scholarship received under this article if the recipient dies or becomes permanently and totally disabled as established by sworn affidavit of a qualified physician.
(e) The rules adopted by the governing boards may provide guidelines under which the senior administrator may, if extenuating circumstances exist, extend the period for fulfilling the obligation to fifteen years.
(a) Subject to subsection (b) of this section, each recipient of an Underwood-Smith teacher scholarship is eligible to receive assistance of up to five thousand dollars for each academic year of higher education in preparation for becoming a preschool, elementary, middle or secondary teacher in the public schools of this state. No individual may receive scholarship assistance for more than four academic years for the completion of a bachelor's degree and two academic years for completion of a master's degree.
(b) No individual shall receive a scholarship award under this article which exceeds the cost of attendance at the institution the individual is attending. The cost of attendance shall be based upon the actual cost of tuition and fees, and reasonable allowances for books, educational supplies, room and board and other expenses necessitated by individual circumstances, in accordance with the program guidelines. For the purposes of establishing an award amount, the senior administrator shall take into account the amount of financial aid assistance the recipient has or will receive from all other sources. If the amount of the Underwood-Smith teacher scholarship assistance award and the amount of assistance awards which the recipient has received from all other sources exceed the cost of attendance, the institution's financial aid officer, in consultation with the scholar, will determine what aid is to be reduced and shall do so in a manner to the best advantage of thescholar.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2012 1st Special Session