(a) It is the purpose of this article and article four-a of this chapter to improve the quality of education in the public schools of West Virginia by encouraging and enabling 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, 2014, and thereafter, particular efforts shall be made in the scholarship selection criteria and procedures to reflect the state's present and projected subject and geographic areas of critical need.
(b) In consultation with the State Board of Education and the State Superintendent of Schools the commission shall propose legislative rules in accordance with the provisions of article three-a, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code. The rules shall provide for the administration of the Underwood-Smith Teacher Scholarship and Loan Assistance programs by the vice chancellor for administration in furtherance of the purposes of this article and article four-a of this chapter, including, but not limited to, the following:
(1) Establishing scholarship selection criteria and procedures;
(2) Establishing criteria and procedures for identifying subject areas, public schools or geographic areas in critical need of teachers;
(3) Awarding loan assistance, including establishing conditions under which partial awards may be granted for less than a full year of teaching in an area of critical need;
(4) Determining eligibility for loan assistance renewal;
(5) Establishing procedures ensuring that loan assistance funds are paid directly to the proper lending entity; and
(6) Establishing criteria for determining participant compliance or noncompliance with terms of the agreement and establishing procedures to address noncompliance including, but not limited to, repayment, deferral and excusal; and
(7) Developing model agreements.
(c) There is created in the State Treasury a special revolving fund to be known as the Underwood-Smith Teacher Scholarship and Loan Assistance Fund to be administered by the vice chancellor for administration solely for granting scholarships and loan assistance to teachers and prospective teachers in accordance with this article and article four-a of this chapter. Any moneys which may be appropriated by the Legislature, or received by the vice chancellor for administration from other sources, for the purposes of this article and article four-a of this chapter, 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 vice chancellor for administration by reason of default of a scholarship or loan assistance agreement under this article or article four-a of this chapter also shall 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 vice chancellor for administration may accept and expend any gift, grant, contribution, bequest, endowment or other money for the purposes of this article and article four-a of this chapter and shall make a reasonable effort to encourage external support for the scholarship and loan assistance programs.
(e) For the purpose of encouraging support for the scholarship
and loan assistance programs from private sources, the vice
chancellor for administration may set aside no more than half of
the funds appropriated by the Legislature for Underwood-Smith
Teacher Scholarships and Loan Assistance Awards to be used to match
two state dollars to each private dollar from a nonstate source
contributed on behalf of a specific institution of higher education
in this state.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2015 Regular Session
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