(1) There is established the Mary McLeod Bethune Scholarship Program to be administered by the Department of Education pursuant to this section and rules of the State Board of Education. The program shall provide matching grants for private sources that raise money for scholarships to be awarded to students who attend Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, Bethune-Cookman University, Edward Waters College, or Florida Memorial University.
(2) The Department of Education shall receive all moneys collected from private sources for the purposes of this section and shall deposit such moneys into the State Student Financial Assistance Trust Fund. Notwithstanding the provisions of s. 216.301 and pursuant to s. 216.351, any balance in the trust fund at the end of any fiscal year which has been allocated to the program shall remain in the trust fund and shall be available for carrying out the purposes of the program. All moneys deposited into the trust fund for the program shall be invested pursuant to s. 17.61. Interest income accruing to that portion of the funds which is allocated to the program in the trust fund and not matched shall increase the total funds available for the program.
(3) The Legislature may appropriate funds for the program from the General Revenue Fund. Such moneys shall be applied to scholarships to be administered by the Department of Education.
(4) The moneys for the program shall be allocated by the department among the institutions of higher education listed in subsection (1) on the basis of one $2,000 challenge grant for each $2,000 raised from private sources. Matching funds shall be generated through contributions made after July 1, 1990, and pledged for the purposes of this section. Pledged contributions shall not be eligible for matching prior to the actual collection of the total funds. The department shall allocate to each of those institutions a proportionate share of the contributions received on behalf of those institutions and a share of the appropriations and matching funds generated by such institution.
(5)(a) In order to be eligible to receive a scholarship pursuant to this section, an applicant must:
1. Meet the general eligibility requirements set forth in s. 1009.40.
2. Be accepted at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, Bethune-Cookman University, Edward Waters College, or Florida Memorial University.
3. Enroll as a full-time undergraduate student.
4. Earn a 3.0 grade point average on a 4.0 scale, or the equivalent, for high school subjects creditable toward a diploma.
(b) In order to renew a scholarship awarded pursuant to this section, a student must earn a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale and complete 12 credits each term for which the student received the scholarship.
(6) The amount of the scholarship to be granted to each recipient is $3,000 annually. Priority in the awarding of scholarships shall be given to students having financial need as determined by the institution. If funds are insufficient to provide the full amount of the scholarship authorized in this section to each eligible applicant, the institution may prorate available funds and make a partial award to each eligible applicant. A student may not receive an award for more than the equivalent of 8 semesters or 12 quarters over a period of 6 consecutive years, except that a student who is participating in developmental education or who requires additional time to complete the college-level communication and computation skills testing program may continue to receive a scholarship while enrolled for the purpose of receiving developmental education or while completing the testing program.
(7) The criteria and procedure for establishing standards of eligibility shall be determined by the department. The department shall establish a rating system upon which the institutions shall award the scholarships. The system must require a certification of eligibility issued by the postsecondary institution selected by the applicant.
(8) Scholarship moneys shall be transmitted to the president or the president’s designee of the postsecondary institution that the recipient is attending. The president or his or her designee shall submit a report annually to the Department of Education on the scholarships. If a recipient terminates his or her enrollment during the academic year, the president or his or her designee shall refund the unused portion of the scholarship to the department within 60 days. If a recipient transfers from one of the institutions listed in subsection (1) to another of those institutions, the recipient’s scholarship is transferable upon approval of the department.
(9) This section shall be implemented in any academic year to the extent funded and authorized by law.
(10) The State Board of Education may adopt any rules necessary to implement the provisions of this section.
(11) Funding for the program shall be as provided in the General Appropriations Act.