(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.