Senate Bill No. 648
(By Senators Plymale, Chafin, Jenkins, Cann and Stollings)
[Introduced March 25, 2013; referred to the Committee on Education; and then to the Committee on Finance.]
A BILL to amend and reenact §18C-3-2 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, relating to providing state aid for certain students pursuing certain degrees; requiring a service commitment to state and setting forth alternatives to service; requiring legislative rule; and specifying rule provisions.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §18C-3-2 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
ARTICLE 3. HEALTH PROFESSIONALS STUDENT LOAN PROGRAMS.
§18C-3-2. State aid for students of optometry.
(a) The board of trustees is hereby commission is authorized to enter into a contract contracts with an educational institution or institutions outside the state that offer training in optometry, podiatry or veterinary medicine by the terms of which the board of trustees commission may obligate itself to pay the institution, within the limits of any appropriation made for the purpose, a stated amount per year for each West Virginia student the institution will agree to accept for training in optometry, podiatry or veterinary medicine.
(b) Each year the board of trustees commission shall each year send to any such appropriate institution a certified list of all persons applying to the trustees commission for training in optometry, podiatry or veterinary medicine 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, podiatry or veterinary medicine.
(c) Upon graduation from an educational institution for study of optometry, podiatry or veterinary medicine, a person who receives state aid under this section is required to:
(1) Practice full-time in this state in the field for which he or she obtained financial aid, one year for every year the student received aid under this section; or
(2) Reimburse the commission for the amount received under this section.
(d) The commission shall propose a legislative rule in accordance with the provisions of article three-a, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code to implement the provisions of this section. The rule shall address at least the following items:
(1) Eligibility and selection criteria;
(2) Reimbursement and repayment;
(3) Forgiveness options for death or disability;
(4) Terms of an agreement to which the student must agree; and
(5) An appeal process.
(e) If considered necessary by the commission, the provisions of this section may be extended by legislative rule to other professional degrees which are not provided in the state, but which are needed to enhance the state’s economy.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to provide financial aid to students who are pursuing certain professional degrees which are not offered in the state to pursue those degrees in another state in return for a service commitment in West Virginia.