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