(1) There is created a Florida Public Postsecondary Career Education Student Assistance Grant Program. The program shall be administered by the participating institutions in accordance with rules of the State Board of Education.
(2) For purposes of this section, the term:
(a) “Average annual cost of tuition and registration fees” means the average cost for the prior academic year of tuition and registration fees for the equivalent in clock hours at a public postsecondary career certificate program of 30 semester credit hours at a state university.
Terms Used In Florida Statutes 1009.505
- Entitlement: A Federal program or provision of law that requires payments to any person or unit of government that meets the eligibility criteria established by law. Entitlements constitute a binding obligation on the part of the Federal Government, and eligible recipients have legal recourse if the obligation is not fulfilled. Social Security and veterans' compensation and pensions are examples of entitlement programs.
- Fiscal year: The fiscal year is the accounting period for the government. For the federal government, this begins on October 1 and ends on September 30. The fiscal year is designated by the calendar year in which it ends; for example, fiscal year 2006 begins on October 1, 2005 and ends on September 30, 2006.
(b) “Half-time” means the equivalent in clock hours at a public postsecondary career certificate program of 6 semester credit hours at a Florida College System institution.
(c) “Public postsecondary career certificate program” means a postsecondary program that consists of 450 or more clock hours, is offered by a Florida College System institution authorized by Florida law or by a career center operated by a district school board under s. 1001.44, and terminates in a career certificate.
(3)(a) Student assistance grants through the program may be made only to certificate-seeking students enrolled at least half-time in a public postsecondary career certificate program who meet the general requirements for student eligibility as provided in s. 1009.40, except as otherwise provided in this section. The grants shall be awarded annually to any recipient for the amount of demonstrated unmet need for the cost of education and may not exceed the amount as specified in the General Appropriations Act. Priority in the distribution of grant moneys may be given to students who are within one semester of completing a certificate program. A demonstrated unmet need of less than $200 shall render the applicant ineligible for a grant under this section. Recipients of the grants must have been accepted at a Florida College System institution authorized by Florida law or a career center operated by a district school board under s. 1001.44. If funds are available, a student who received an award in the fall or spring term may receive an award in the summer term. Priority in the distribution of summer awards shall be given to students who are within one term of completing a certificate program. A student is eligible for the award for 110 percent of the number of clock hours required to complete the program in which enrolled.
(b) A student applying for a Florida public postsecondary career education student assistance grant shall be required to apply for the Pell Grant. A Pell Grant entitlement shall be considered when conducting an assessment of the financial resources available to each student; however, a Pell Grant entitlement shall not be required as a condition of receiving a grant under this section.
(c) Each participating institution shall report to the department by the established date the students eligible for the program for each academic term. Each institution shall also report to the department necessary demographic and eligibility data for such students.
(4)(a) The funds appropriated for the Florida Public Postsecondary Career Education Student Assistance Grant Program shall be distributed to eligible Florida College System institutions and district school boards in accordance with a formula approved by the department. The formula must account for changes in the number of eligible students across all student assistance grant programs established pursuant to this section and ss. 1009.50, 1009.51, and 1009.52.
(b) Payment of Florida public postsecondary career education student assistance grants shall be transmitted to the president of the Florida College System institution or to the district school superintendent, or to the designee thereof, in advance of the registration period. Institutions shall notify students of the amount of their awards.
(c) The eligibility status of each student to receive a disbursement shall be determined by each institution as of the end of its regular registration period, inclusive of a drop-add period. Institutions shall not be required to reevaluate a student’s eligibility status after this date for purposes of changing eligibility determinations previously made.
(d) Participating institutions shall certify to the department within 30 days after the end of regular registration each term the amount of funds disbursed to each student and shall remit to the department any undisbursed advances within 60 days after the end of regular registration each spring term. An exception to the remittance deadline may be granted if the institution documents to the department how it plans to disburse awards to students for the subsequent summer term. An institution that uses funds for the summer term shall certify to the department the amount of funds disbursed to each student and shall remit to the department any undisbursed advances within 30 days after the end of the summer term.
(e) Each institution that receives moneys through the Florida Public Postsecondary Career Education Student Assistance Grant Program shall prepare a biennial report that includes a financial audit, conducted by the Auditor General, of the institution’s administration of the program and a complete accounting of moneys allocated to the institution for the program. Such report shall be submitted to the department by March 1 every other year. The department may conduct its own annual or biennial audit of an institution’s administration of the program and its allocated funds in lieu of the required biennial report and financial audit report. The department may suspend or revoke an institution’s eligibility to receive future moneys for the program or may request a refund of any moneys overpaid to the institution if the department finds that an institution has not complied with this section. Any refund requested pursuant to this paragraph shall be remitted within 60 days after notification by the department.
(5) Funds appropriated by the Legislature for state student assistance grants may be deposited in the State Student Financial Assistance Trust Fund. Notwithstanding 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 Florida Public Postsecondary Career Education Student Assistance Grant Program shall remain therein and shall be available for carrying out the purposes of this section.
(6) The State Board of Education shall establish rules necessary to implement this section.
(7) This section shall be implemented only to the extent specifically funded and authorized by law.