"Merit Recognition Scholarship" means a $1,000 academic scholarship
awarded under this Section during an academic year to a qualified student,
to financial need, as a scholarship to any qualified Illinois institution of
higher learning or
a Service Academy in which the student is or will be enrolled as an
student or cadet.
"Service Academy" means the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Coast Guard
Academy, the U.S. Military Academy, or the U.S. Naval Academy.
(b) In order to identify, encourage, promote, and reward the distinguished
academic achievement of students from every high school located in this State,
qualified student shall be awarded a Merit Recognition Scholarship by the
Student Assistance Commission to any qualified Illinois institution of higher
to any Service Academy.
(b-5) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Section, a student who has received a grant under the State Scholar program under Section 25 of this Act is ineligible to receive a Merit Recognition Scholarship.
(c) No Merit Recognition Scholarship provided for a qualified student
under this Section shall be considered in evaluating the financial situation of
or be deemed a financial resource of or a form of financial aid or assistance
student, for purposes of determining the eligibility of the student for any
grant, or monetary assistance awarded by the Commission, the State, or any
thereof pursuant to the provisions of any other Section of this Act or any
other law of this
State; nor shall any Merit Recognition Scholarship provided for a
this Section reduce the amount of any scholarship, grant, or monetary
assistance that that
student is eligible to be awarded by the Commission, the State, or any agency
accordance with the provisions of any other Section of this Act or any other
law of this
(d) The Illinois Student Assistance Commission is designated as
administrator of the Merit Recognition Scholarship program. Each high
located in this State shall certify to the Commission the names of its students
eligible applicants, specifying which of the students certified as eligible
completed the program of instruction at that high school and the graduation
date fixed for
their high school class and specifying for each of the other eligible
names appear on the certification the semester of high school last completed by
The Commission shall promptly notify those eligible applicants so certified who
reasonably assured of receiving a Merit Recognition Scholarship in accordance
the annual funding levels recommended in the Governor's budget of their
apply for a scholarship under this Section, other than any eligible applicant
named on any
such certification who, as an eligible applicant, has previously made
application to the
Commission for a Merit Recognition Scholarship under this Section. An
eligible applicant who fails to make a timely application (as determined by the
Commission) for a Merit Recognition Scholarship under this Section shall
be deemed an eligible applicant and shall not qualify for the award.
(e) All applications for Merit Recognition Scholarships to be awarded
this Section shall be made to the Commission on forms that the Commission shall
provide for eligible applicants. The form of applications and the information
be set forth therein shall be determined by the Commission, and the Commission
require eligible applicants to submit with their applications such supporting
as the Commission deems necessary.
(f) The names and addresses of Merit Recognition Scholarship recipients
are a matter of public record.
(g) Whenever an eligible applicant who has completed the program of
instruction at any high school located in this State thereafter makes timely
the Commission for a Merit Recognition Scholarship under this Section, the
Commission shall promptly determine whether that eligible applicant is a
student as defined in subsection (a) of this Section. Each such eligible
determined by the Commission to be a qualified student shall be awarded
a Merit Recognition Scholarship in the amount of $1,000, effective exclusively
academic year following the qualified student's high school graduation, subject
to appropriation by the General Assembly.
(h) Subject to a separate appropriation for purposes of this Section,
any Merit Recognition Scholarship awarded under this Section shall be
exclusively by the Commission. All scholarship funds distributed in accordance
subsection (h) shall be paid to the qualified Illinois
institution of higher
learning or Service Academy and used only for payment of the educational
incurred by the student in connection with his or her attendance as an
student or cadet at that institution or Service Academy, including but not
tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, required Service Academy
uniforms, and travel and personal expenses related to the student's attendance
institution or Service Academy. Any Merit Recognition Scholarship awarded
this Section shall be applicable to 2 semesters or 3 quarters of enrollment.
qualified student withdraw from enrollment prior to completion of the first
quarter for which the Merit Recognition Scholarship is applicable, the
refund to the Commission the amount of the scholarship received.
(i) The Commission shall administer the Merit Recognition Scholarship
program established by this Section and shall make all necessary and proper
inconsistent with this Section, for its effective implementation.
(j) When an appropriation to the Commission for purposes of this Section is
insufficient to provide scholarships to all qualified students, the Commission
allocate the appropriation in accordance with this subsection (j). If funds
are insufficient to provide all qualified students with a scholarship as
authorized by subsection (g) of this Section, the Commission shall allocate the
scholarships to qualified students in order of decreasing relative academic
rank, as determined by the Commission using a formula based upon the qualified
student's grade point average, score on the appropriate statewide standardized
examination, or a combination of grade point average and standardized test
score. All Merit Recognition Scholarships awarded shall be in the amount of
(k) The Commission, in determining the number of Merit Recognition
Scholarships to be offered pursuant to subsection (j) of this Section, shall
take into consideration past experience with the rate of merit scholarship
funds unclaimed by qualified students. To the extent necessary to avoid an
over-commitment of funds, the Commission may allocate scholarship funds on
the basis of the date the Commission receives a completed application form.
(Source: P.A. 95-715, eff. 1-1-09.)