(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.