(a) The purpose of this article is to attract talented students to West Virginia colleges and universities to major in engineering, science and technology. The Legislature recognizes that a larger pool of engineering, science and technology talent in West Virginia will build the state's economy and businesses. In addition, long-term population increases for West Virginia will develop a strong economic base. The new economy requires that West Virginia retain its education infrastructure in order to maintain economic growth.
(b) The higher education governing boards shall propose a joint 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 and shall file the rule with the Legislative Oversight commission on education accountability no later than December 1, 1999. The rule shall provide for the administration of the West Virginia engineering, science and technology scholarship program by the senior administrator in furtherance of the purposes of this article, including, but not limited to, an expression of legislative intent that academic ability be the primary criteria for selecting scholarship recipients, scholarship selection criteria and procedures, renewal, compliance, noncompliance and repayment, deferral and excusal. The rules also shall provide for appeal procedures under which a recipient may appeal any determination of noncompliance. The rules may provide for satisfaction of the work requirement provided in paragraph (A), subdivision (2), subsection (a), section four of this article through community service relating to engineering, science or technology. In accordance with the rules, the senior administrator shall establish appropriate guidelines for program operation.
(c) There is hereby created in the State Treasury a special revolving fund known as the "West Virginia Engineering, Science and Technology Scholarship Fund" to be administered by the senior administrator solely for granting scholarships to prospective engineers, scientists and technologists in accordance with this article. Any moneys which may be appropriated by the Legislature, or received by the senior administrator from other sources, for the purposes of this article shall be deposited in the fund. Any moneys remaining in the fund at the close of the fiscal year shall be carried forward for use in the next fiscal year. Any moneys repaid to the senior administrator by reason of default of a scholarship agreement under this article 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 senior administrator may accept and expend any gift, grant, contribution, bequest, endowment or other money for the purposes of this article and shall make a reasonable effort to encourage external support for the scholarship program.
(e) For the purpose of encouraging support for the scholarship program from private sources, the senior administrator may set aside no more than half of the funds appropriated by the Legislature for West Virginia engineering, science and technology scholarships 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.
(f) West Virginia engineering, science and technology scholarships are limited to three hundred new scholarships per year and a maximum of one thousand outstanding scholarships during any year.
(g) Nothing in this article requires any specific level of funding by the Legislature.
When used in this article the following terms have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
(a) "ABET" means the accrediting board for engineering and technology.
(b) "ABET approved engineering major" means a major approved by ABET's engineering accreditation commission.
(c) "ABET approved technology major" means a major approved by ABET's technology accreditation commission.
(d) "Eligible institution of higher education" means:
(1) A state institution of higher education as defined in section two, article one, chapter eighteen-b of this code; and (2) Alderson-Broaddus College, Appalachian Bible College, Bethany College, the College of West Virginia, Davis and Elkins College, Ohio Valley College, Salem-Teikyo College, the University of Charleston, West Virginia Wesleyan College and Wheeling Jesuit College, all in West Virginia, and any other institution of higher education in this state, public or private, approved by the senior administrator: Provided, That if any institution listed in this paragraph is not regionally accredited, it shall not be included as an eligible institution;
(e) "Engineering, science and technology-related field" means any position for which the employer provides a written statement that engineering, science or technology skill, knowledge and ability, as evidenced by the attainment of a certificate, associate or baccalaureate degree in engineering, science or technology, are preferred or required or where an industry-based certification requirement exists.
(f) "Industry-based certification" means any special certification required, necessary or deemed preferred for employment in the field.
(g) "Science" means a major in biology, chemistry, computer science, physics or mathematics at an eligible institution of higher education or any other major as approved by the higher education governing boards by rule.
(a) The higher education governing boards shall designate an existing scholarship selection agency or panel to select the recipients of West Virginia engineering, science and technology scholarships from among those applicants who meet eligibility criteria set forth in subsection (b) of this section. If no such agency or panel exists, the higher education governing boards shall appoint a scholarship selection panel for this purpose which shall consist of seven persons representative of West Virginia engineering, science and technology higher education administrators and educators, with a minimum of one voting member representing community colleges, and one member representing West Virginia engineering, science and technology professionals.
(b) To be eligible to receive a scholarship under the provisions of this article, applicants must meet the following conditions:
(1) Be a United States citizen or resident alien who meets the definition of an eligible noncitizen under federal Title IV requirements;
(2) Have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 grading scale upon graduation from high school or the equivalent or have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 grading scale after completing two semesters of course work at an eligible institution of higher education; and
(3) Be enrolled or accepted for enrollment in an engineering, science or technology program leading to a certificate, associate or baccalaureate degree at an eligible institution of higher education. The program must be:
(A) An ABET approved technology major;
(B) An ABET approved engineering major;
(C) A science major;
(D) An engineering or technology program or major that has been approved by the senior administrator; or
(E) A program leading directly to specialized certification as established by appropriate industry standards.
(c) In accordance with the rules of the governing boards, and the intent of this article, the senior administrator 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 recipients as set forth in section one of this article and which may include, but not be limited to:
(1) The grade point average of the applicant;
(2) Involvement in extracurricular activities;
(3) Financial need;
(4) Current academic standing; and
(5) An expression of interest in a career in engineering, science or technology as demonstrated in an essay written by the applicant
The criteria and procedures further may require the applicant to furnish letters of recommendation from teachers and others.
(d) In developing the selection criteria and procedures to be used by the panel, the senior administrator shall solicit the views of public and private engineering, science and technology agencies and institutions and other interested parties. The senior administrator shall collect this information by means of written and published selection criteria and procedures in final form for implementation. The senior administrator may call public hearings on the present and projected engineering, science and technology needs of the state or may use other appropriate methods to gather such information.
(e) The senior administrator shall make application forms for West Virginia engineering, science and technology scholarships available to public and private high schools in the state and 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 careers in engineering, science and technology and who are under-represented in those fields.
(f) In awarding the scholarships, the panel shall give preference to applicants who are West Virginia residents.
(g) In awarding scholarships, not less than twenty percent of appropriated funds may be awarded to students enrolled in certificate and associate degree programs. Further awards will be determined based on established statewide need.
(a) Each recipient of a West Virginia engineering, science and technology scholarship shall enter into an agreement with the senior administrator under which the recipient shall:
(1) Provide the governing boards with evidence of compliance with subsection (a), section five of this article;
(2) Agree that within one year following the date the recipient ceases to be a full-time student at an eligible institution in a program of engineering, science or technology education for which the scholarship was awarded he or she will:
(A) Begin working full-time in an engineering, science or technology-related field in this state for a duration of not less than one year for each year the scholarship was received; or
(B) Begin repayment of all or part of the West Virginia engineering, science and technology scholarship received under this article plus interest and, if applicable, reasonable collection fees, in accordance with subsection (b), section five-b of this article, except as provided in subsections (c) and (d), section five of this article.
(b) A scholarship agreement shall disclose fully the terms and conditions of this article under which the scholarship is provided and under which repayment of the scholarship may be required.
(a) The recipient of a West Virginia engineering, science and technology scholarship is eligible for scholarship renewal if the recipient is:
(1) Enrolled as a full-time student in an eligible institution of higher education;
(2) Pursuing a course of study leading to a certificate, associate or baccalaureate degree in engineering, science or technology or leading to specialized certification as established by industry-based standards;
(3) Maintaining satisfactory progress as determined by the eligible institution of higher education the recipient is attending; and
(4) Complying with any other standards established by the governing boards by rule.
(b) A recipient who violates a scholarship agreement is required to repay the amount of any scholarship award received, plus interest, and, where applicable, reasonable collection fees, on a schedule and at a rate of interest prescribed in the guidelines of the senior administrator. The legislative rules required in section one of this article shall provide for a method of prorating repayment amounts against any amount of the work requirement that has been fulfilled by the recipient.
(c) A recipient is not in violation of the agreement entered into under section three of this article during any period in which the recipient is:
(1) Pursuing a full-time course of study at an accredited institution of higher education;
(2) Serving as a member of the armed services of the United States for a period not in excess of four years; or
(3) Satisfying the provisions of additional repayment exemptions that may be prescribed by the governing boards by rule.
(d) A recipient is excused from repayment of a West Virginia engineering, science and technology scholarship received under this article if the recipient dies or becomes permanently and totally disabled as established by sworn affidavit of a physician qualified to make such a determination as determined by the rules established by the governing boards.
(e) The rules adopted by the governing boards shall provide that the length of the repayment period may not exceed ten years: Provided, That the rules may include provisions under which the senior administrator may, if extenuating circumstances exist, extend the period for fulfilling the obligation to fifteen years.
(a) Subject to subsection (b) of this section, each recipient of a West Virginia engineering, science and technology scholarship is eligible to receive an award of up to $3,000 for each academic year of higher education. No individual may receive a scholarship award for more than four academic years for the completion of a baccalaureate degree.
(b) No individual may receive a scholarship award under this article which exceeds the cost of attendance at the institution the individual is attending. The cost of attendance shall be based upon the actual cost of tuition and fees. If the amount of the West Virginia engineering, science and technology scholarship award and the amount of financial assistance which the recipient has received from all other sources exceed the cost of attendance, the institution's financial aid officer, in consultation with the recipient, will determine which source of financial aid is to be reduced and shall do so in a manner to the best advantage of the recipient.