State of Illinois
91st General Assembly

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[ Introduced ][ Engrossed ][ Senate Amendment 002 ]


HB0080 Enrolled                               LRB9100386NTsbA

 1        AN  ACT  to amend the Higher Education Student Assistance
 2    Act by adding Section 31 and repealing Sections 25 and 30.

 3        Be it enacted by the People of  the  State  of  Illinois,
 4    represented in the General Assembly:

 5        Section  5.   The Higher Education Student Assistance Act
 6    is amended by adding Section 31 as follows:

 7        (110 ILCS 947/31 new)
 8        Sec. 31. Merit Recognition Scholarship program.
 9        (a)  As used in this Section:
10        "Eligible applicant" means a student from any high school
11    in this State, either approved by or not  recognized  by  the
12    State  Board  of  Education,  who  is engaged in a program of
13    study that in due course will be completed by the end of  the
14    academic  year,  and  (i)  whose cumulative high school grade
15    point average is at or above the 95th percentile  of  his  or
16    her high school class after completion of the 6th semester of
17    a high school program of instruction or (ii) whose score on a
18    standardized  examination determined by the Commission, taken
19    before or during the 6th semester of high school,  is  at  or
20    above  the  95th percentile of students in the State who take
21    the standardized college  entrance  examination.  These  high
22    school  students are all eligible to receive a scholarship to
23    be awarded under this Section.
24        "Qualified student" means a person:
25             (1)  who is a resident of this State and  a  citizen
26        or permanent resident of the United States;
27             (2)  who,  as  an  eligible  applicant,  is  in good
28        academic standing at the high school in which he  or  she
29        is enrolled and has made a timely application for a Merit
30        Recognition Scholarship under this Section;
31             (3)  who  has  successfully completed the program of
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 1        instruction at any high school located in this State; and
 2             (4)  who enrolls  or  is  enrolled  in  a  qualified
 3        Illinois  institution  of  higher  learning  or a Service
 4        Academy as an undergraduate student or cadet and has  not
 5        received a baccalaureate degree.
 6        "Merit  Recognition  Scholarship" means a $1,000 academic
 7    scholarship awarded under this  Section  during  an  academic
 8    year  to  a  qualified  student,  without regard to financial
 9    need, as a scholarship to any qualified Illinois  institution
10    of  higher learning or a Service Academy in which the student
11    is or will be enrolled as an undergraduate student or cadet.
12        "Service Academy" means the U.S. Air Force  Academy,  the
13    U.S.  Coast  Guard Academy, the U.S. Military Academy, or the
14    U.S. Naval Academy.
15        (b)  In order to identify, encourage, promote, and reward
16    the distinguished academic achievement of students from every
17    high school located in this  State,  each  qualified  student
18    shall  be  awarded  a  Merit  Recognition  Scholarship by the
19    Illinois  Student  Assistance  Commission  to  any  qualified
20    Illinois institution of higher learning  or  to  any  Service
21    Academy.
22        (c)  No  Merit  Recognition  Scholarship  provided  for a
23    qualified student under this Section shall be  considered  in
24    evaluating  the  financial  situation  of  that student or be
25    deemed a financial resource of or a form of financial aid  or
26    assistance  to  that student, for purposes of determining the
27    eligibility of the student for  any  scholarship,  grant,  or
28    monetary  assistance awarded by the Commission, the State, or
29    any agency thereof pursuant to the provisions  of  any  other
30    Section of this Act or any other law of this State; nor shall
31    any  Merit  Recognition  Scholarship provided for a qualified
32    student  under  this  Section  reduce  the  amount   of   any
33    scholarship,  grant, or monetary assistance that that student
34    is eligible to be awarded by the Commission,  the  State,  or
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 1    any  agency  thereof in accordance with the provisions of any
 2    other Section of this Act or any other law of this State.
 3        (d)  The  Illinois  Student  Assistance   Commission   is
 4    designated   as   administrator   of  the  Merit  Recognition
 5    Scholarship program.  Each high school located in this  State
 6    shall certify to the Commission the names of its students who
 7    are  eligible  applicants,  specifying  which of the students
 8    certified as eligible applicants have completed  the  program
 9    of  instruction  at  that high school and the graduation date
10    fixed for their high school class and specifying for each  of
11    the  other  eligible  applicants  whose  names  appear on the
12    certification the semester of high school last  completed  by
13    them.  The  Commission  shall  promptly notify those eligible
14    applicants  so  certified  who  are  reasonably  assured   of
15    receiving  a Merit Recognition Scholarship in accordance with
16    the annual  funding  levels  recommended  in  the  Governor's
17    budget  of their eligibility to apply for a scholarship under
18    this Section, other than any eligible applicant named on  any
19    such   certification  who,  as  an  eligible  applicant,  has
20    previously made application to the  Commission  for  a  Merit
21    Recognition  Scholarship  under  this  Section.  An otherwise
22    eligible applicant who fails to make a timely application (as
23    determined  by  the  Commission)  for  a  Merit   Recognition
24    Scholarship  under  this Section shall no longer be deemed an
25    eligible applicant and shall not qualify for the award.
26        (e)  All applications for Merit Recognition  Scholarships
27    to  be  awarded  under  this  Section  shall  be  made to the
28    Commission on forms that the  Commission  shall  provide  for
29    eligible  applicants.   The  form  of  applications  and  the
30    information  required  to  be  set  forth  therein  shall  be
31    determined  by  the  Commission,  and  the  Commission  shall
32    require eligible applicants to submit with their applications
33    such supporting documents as the Commission deems necessary.
34        (f)  The   names   and  addresses  of  Merit  Recognition
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 1    Scholarship recipients are a matter of public record.
 2        (g)  Whenever an eligible applicant who has completed the
 3    program of instruction at any high  school  located  in  this
 4    State  thereafter  makes timely application to the Commission
 5    for a Merit Recognition Scholarship under this  Section,  the
 6    Commission  shall  promptly  determine  whether that eligible
 7    applicant is a qualified student as defined in subsection (a)
 8    of this Section.  Each such eligible applicant so  determined
 9    by  the Commission to be a qualified student shall be awarded
10    a Merit Recognition Scholarship  in  the  amount  of  $1,000,
11    effective  exclusively during the academic year following the
12    qualified  student's  high  school  graduation,  subject   to
13    appropriation by the General Assembly.
14        (h)  Subject  to a separate appropriation for purposes of
15    this Section, payment of any  Merit  Recognition  Scholarship
16    awarded under this Section shall be determined exclusively by
17    the   Commission.    All  scholarship  funds  distributed  in
18    accordance with this subsection (h)  shall  be  paid  to  the
19    qualified  Illinois institution of higher learning or Service
20    Academy and used only for payment of the educational expenses
21    incurred by  the  student  in  connection  with  his  or  her
22    attendance  as  an  undergraduate  student  or  cadet at that
23    institution or Service Academy, including but not limited  to
24    tuition  and  fees,  room  and  board,  books  and  supplies,
25    required  Service  Academy  uniforms, and travel and personal
26    expenses  related  to  the  student's  attendance   at   that
27    institution   or  Service  Academy.   Any  Merit  Recognition
28    Scholarship awarded under this Section shall be applicable to
29    2 semesters or 3 quarters of enrollment.  Should a  qualified
30    student  withdraw  from enrollment prior to completion of the
31    first semester or quarter for  which  the  Merit  Recognition
32    Scholarship  is  applicable,  the student shall refund to the
33    Commission the amount of the scholarship received.
34        (i)  The   Commission   shall   administer   the    Merit
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 1    Recognition  Scholarship  program established by this Section
 2    and  shall  make  all  necessary  and   proper   rules,   not
 3    inconsistent   with   this   Section,   for   its   effective
 4    implementation.
 5        (j)  When an appropriation to the Commission for purposes
 6    of  this  Section  is insufficient to provide scholarships to
 7    all qualified students, the  Commission  shall  allocate  the
 8    appropriation  in  accordance  with  this subsection (j).  If
 9    funds are insufficient to provide all qualified students with
10    a  scholarship  as  authorized  by  subsection  (g)  of  this
11    Section, the Commission shall allocate  the  scholarships  to
12    qualified  students  in order of decreasing relative academic
13    rank, as determined by the Commission using a  formula  based
14    upon  the  qualified  student's grade point average, score on
15    the appropriate  statewide  standardized  examination,  or  a
16    combination  of  grade  point  average  and standardized test
17    score.  All Merit Recognition Scholarships awarded  shall  be
18    in the amount of $1,000.
19        (k)  The  Commission,  in determining the number of Merit
20    Recognition Scholarships to be offered pursuant to subsection
21    (j) of this  Section,  shall  take  into  consideration  past
22    experience with the rate of merit scholarship funds unclaimed
23    by  qualified  students.  To the extent necessary to avoid an
24    over-commitment  of  funds,  the  Commission   may   allocate
25    scholarship  funds  on  the  basis of the date the Commission
26    receives a completed application form.

27        (110 ILCS 947/30 rep.)
28        Section 10.  The Higher Education Student Assistance  Act
29    is amended by repealing Section 30.

30        Section  99.  Effective date.  This Act takes effect July
31    1, 2000.

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