(b) There is continued a special revolving fund account administered by the commission in the state treasury to be known as the Health Education Student Loan Fund which shall be used to carry out the purposes of this section. The fund consists of the following:
(1) All funds on deposit in the medical student loan fund in the state treasury or which are due or become due for deposit in the fund as obligations made under the previous enactment of this section;
(2) Those funds provided for medical education pursuant to the provisions of section four, article ten, chapter eighteen-b of this code;
(3) Appropriations provided by the Legislature;
(4) Repayment of any loans made under this section;
(5) Amounts provided by medical associations, hospitals or other medical provider organizations in this state, or by political subdivisions of the state, under an agreement which requires the recipient to practice his or her health profession in this state or in the political subdivision providing the funds for a predetermined period of time and in such capacity as set forth in the agreement; and
(6) Other amounts which may be available from external sources.
(c) Balances remaining in the fund at the end of the fiscal year do not expire or revert. All costs associated with administering this section shall be paid from the Health Education Student Loan Fund.
(d) The Vice Chancellor for Administration may utilize any funds in the Health Education Student Loan Fund for the purposes of the Medical Student Loan Program. The commission shall give priority for the loans to residents of this state, as defined by the commission. An individual is eligible for loan consideration if the individual meets the following conditions:
(1) Demonstrates financial need;
(2) Meets established academic standards;
(3) Is enrolled or accepted for enrollment at the West Virginia University School of Medicine, the Marshall University School of Medicine, or the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine in a program leading to the degree of medical doctor (M.D.) or doctor of osteopathy (D.O.);
(4) Has not yet received one of the degrees provided in subdivision (3) of this subsection; and
(5) Is not in default of any previous student loan.
(e) At the end of each fiscal year, any individual who has received a medical student loan and who has rendered services as a medical doctor or a doctor of osteopathy in this state in a medically underserved area or in a medical specialty in which there is a shortage of physicians, as determined by the Division of Health at the time the loan was granted, may submit to the commission a notarized, sworn statement of service on a form provided for that purpose. Upon receipt of the statement the commission shall cancel ten thousand dollars of the outstanding loan or loans for every full twelve consecutive calendar months of such service.
(f) No later than thirty days following the end of each fiscal year, the Vice Chancellor for Administration shall prepare and submit a report to the commission for inclusion in the statewide report card required under section eight, article one-d, chapter eighteen-b of this code to be submitted to the Legislative Oversight Commission on Education Accountability established under section eleven, article three-a, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code. At a minimum, the report shall include the following information:
(1) The number of loans awarded;
(2) The total amount of the loans awarded;
(3) The amount of any unexpended moneys in the fund; and
(4) The rate of default during the previous fiscal year on the repayment of previously awarded loans.
The board of trustees shall each year send to any such institution a certified list of all persons applying to the trustees for training in optometry who are bona fide citizens and residents of this state prior to the filing of their applications, and who have completed either within or without the state the course of study required by the institution as a prerequisite to the study of optometry.
(b) Establishment of special account. -- There is hereby established a special revolving fund account under the higher education policy commission in the state treasury to be known as the "Health Sciences Scholarship Fund" that shall be used to carry out the purposes of this section. The fund shall consist of one or more of the following: (1) All unexpended health sciences scholarship funds on deposit in the state treasury on the effective date of this section; (2) appropriations as may be provided by the Legislature; (3) repayments, including interest as set by the vice chancellor for health sciences, collected from scholarship recipients who fail to practice or teach in West Virginia under the terms of the scholarship agreement as set forth under this section; or (4) amounts that may become available from other sources. Balances remaining in the fund at the end of the fiscal year shall not expire or revert to the general revenue. All costs associated with the administration of this section shall be paid from the health sciences scholarship fund under the direction of the vice chancellor for health sciences.
(c) Eligibility requirements. -- An individual is eligible for consideration for a health sciences scholarship if the individual: (1) Either: (A) Is a fourth-year medical student at the Marshall university school of medicine, West Virginia school of osteopathic medicine or West Virginia university school of medicine who has been accepted in a primary care internship/residency program in West Virginia; or (B) is enrolled or accepted for enrollment in an approved education program at a West Virginia institution leading to a degree or certification in the field of nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, physician assistant or other disciplines identified as shortage fields by the vice chancellor for health sciences; and (2) signs an agreement to practice for at least two years in an underserved area of West Virginia as determined by the bureau for public health. An individual also is eligible for consideration for a health sciences scholarship if the individual is pursuing a master's degree in nursing and signs an agreement to teach at least two years for a school of nursing located in West Virginia, as may be determined by the vice chancellor for health sciences, after receiving her or his master's degree. Awarding preference will be given to West Virginia residents.
(d) Scholarship awards. -- Scholarships shall be in the amount of twenty thousand dollars for medical students and ten thousand dollars for all others and may be awarded by the vice chancellor for health sciences, with the advice of an advisory panel, from the pool of all applicants with a commitment to practice in an underserved area of West Virginia as determined by the bureau for public health. Nothing herein shall be construed as granting or guaranteeing any applicant any right to such a scholarship.
(e) Repayment provisions. -- A scholarship recipient who fails to practice in an underserved area of West Virginia within six months of the completion of his or her training, who fails to complete his or her training or who fails to complete the required teaching is in breach of contract and is liable for repayment of the total scholarship amount received plus interest. The granting or renewal of a license to practice in West Virginia or to reciprocal licensure in another state based upon licensure in West Virginia shall be contingent upon beginning payment and continuing payment until complete repayment of the total scholarship amount if the recipient fails to practice in an underserved area. No license, renewal or reciprocity shall be granted to persons whose repayments are in arrears. The appropriate regulatory board shall inform all other states where a recipient has reciprocated based upon West Virginia licensure of any refusal to renew licensure in West Virginia as a result of failure to repay the scholarship amount. This provision shall be explained in bold type in the scholarship contract. Repayment terms, not inconsistent with this section, shall be established by the vice chancellor for health sciences pursuant to rules as required under subsection (f) of this section.
(f) Promulgation of rules. -- The higher education policy commission shall promulgate rules pursuant to article three-a, chapter twenty nine-a of this code necessary for the implementation and administration of this section.
(g) Definitions. -- For purposes of the repayment provisions of this section, the term "training" means the entire degree program or certification program for nurse midwives, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and other disciplines identified as shortage field by the vice chancellor. The term also means the completion of a degree program and includes completion of an approved residency/internship program for students pursuing a degree in medicine or a degree in osteopathy.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2013 1st Special Session
The WV Code Online is an unofficial copy of the annotated WV Code, provided as a convenience. It has NOT been edited for publication, and is not in any way official or authoritative.