(a) The Higher Education Grant Program is continued.
(b) It is the policy of the Legislature and the purpose of this article to continue the Higher Education Grant Program within the limits of appropriations made therefor from time to time for such purpose by the Legislature.
(1) The Grant Program is designed to guarantee that the most able and needy students from all sectors of the state are given the opportunity to continue their program of self-improvement in an approved institution of higher education of their choice located in this state.
(2) The Grant Program is a vitally important source of financial assistance for needy residents of the state; and
(3) The Grant Program aids lower income students to realize their full academic potential;
(c) Therefore, in recent years the state has substantially increased appropriations to need-based student financial aid programs.
(d) The commission, in consultation with the council and the advisory board, 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 article. The commission shall file the rule with the Legislative Oversight Commission on Education Accountability no later than September 1, 2006. The rule shall address administration of the grant program, including, but not limited to, the following:
(1) Eligibility criteria for awards;
(2) Coordination with other student financial aid programs; and
(3) Appeal procedures.