(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.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2012 1st Special Session