SENATE BILL No. 268

 

 

April 16, 2019, Introduced by Senator HORN and referred to the Committee on Appropriations.

 

 

 

     A bill to establish a financial aid program for certain

 

residents of this state seeking associate degrees or industry-

 

recognized certificates or credentials from certain educational and

 

jobs training programs; to provide for the administration of the

 

financial aid program; and to prescribe certain powers and duties

 

of certain state officers, agencies, and departments.

 

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN ENACT:

 

     Sec. 1. This act shall be known and may be cited as the

 

"Michigan reconnect grant act".

 

     Sec. 2. As used in this act:

 

     (a) "Continuous enrollment" means enrollment in at least 2

 

semesters or the equivalent in terms or quarters, as determined by

 

the department, during each academic year for a number of

 

consecutive academic years.

 


     (b) "Department" means the department of talent and economic

 

development.

 

     (c) "Eligible institution" means an entity described in

 

subparagraph (i) and (ii) that meets the condition described in

 

subparagraph (iii), as follows:

 

     (i) Is an accredited degree- or certificate-granting public

 

community college in this state.

 

     (ii) Is a provider of an educational component of a registered

 

apprenticeship program or other jobs training program leading to an

 

industry-recognized certificate or credential if the provider is an

 

accredited degree- or certificate-granting public community college

 

in this state and is charging tuition and mandatory fees to the

 

apprentice or trainee.

 

     (iii) Complies with applicable restraints on fee and tuition

 

rate increases, if any, provided for in article II of the school

 

aid act of 1979, 1979 PA 94, MCL 388.1801 to 388.1830.

 

     (d) "Gift aid" means scholarships or grants from sources that

 

do not require repayment. The term does not include student loans,

 

work-study awards, or qualified withdrawals made from education

 

savings accounts to pay higher education expenses pursuant to the

 

Michigan education savings program act, 2000 PA 161, MCL 390.1471

 

to 390.1486.

 

     (e) "Half-time student" means a student enrolled in at least 6

 

credit hours in an academic semester or the equivalent number of

 

credit hours in a term or quarter, as determined by the department.

 

     (f) "Michigan reconnect grant student" means a student

 

admitted to and enrolled in an eligible institution and receiving a


Michigan reconnect grant under this act.

 

     Sec. 3. The department shall administer the Michigan reconnect

 

grant program for residents of this state seeking associate degrees

 

or industry-recognized certificates or credentials from eligible

 

institutions, subject to all of the following:

 

     (a) To be eligible for the grant, an individual must meet all

 

of the following conditions by the date of his or her enrollment

 

described in subparagraph (iv):

 

     (i) Be at least 25 years old.

 

     (ii) Be a resident of this state for at least the immediately

 

preceding year.

 

     (iii) Have graduated from high school with a diploma or

 

certificate of completion or achieved a high school equivalency

 

certificate. As used in this subparagraph, "high school equivalency

 

certificate" means that term as defined in section 4 of the school

 

aid act of 1979, 1979 PA 94, MCL 388.1604.

 

     (iv) Be admitted to, and enrolled as at least a half-time

 

student in, a program at an eligible institution leading to an

 

associate degree or industry-recognized certificate or credential.

 

     (v) Not have previously earned an associate or baccalaureate

 

degree.

 

     (b) Students applying for the grant must complete a Michigan

 

reconnect grant application for their initial year of enrollment in

 

accordance with a schedule determined by the department. Students

 

must also complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid

 

each academic year in which they seek to receive the Michigan

 

reconnect grant.


     (c) To continue to receive a Michigan reconnect grant at an

 

eligible institution, a student must do all of the following:

 

     (i) Except as otherwise provided in subdivision (e), maintain

 

continuous enrollment as at least a half-time student in a program

 

at an eligible institution leading to an associate degree or

 

industry-recognized certificate or credential.

 

     (ii) Maintain satisfactory academic standing as determined by

 

the eligible institution and department rules.

 

     (iii) Participate in relevant academic and career advising

 

programs offered by the eligible institution and the department.

 

     (d) The amount of a Michigan reconnect grant award is equal to

 

the cost of tuition and mandatory fees at the eligible institution

 

attended less all other gift aid. Gift aid shall be credited first

 

to the student's tuition and mandatory fees. If awarded, Michigan

 

reconnect grant money shall be paid to the eligible institution for

 

credit to the student's account.

 

     (e) A Michigan reconnect grant student who takes a leave of

 

absence from an eligible institution due to a medical or family

 

hardship may, subject to department approval, continue to receive

 

the grant upon resuming the student's education at an eligible

 

institution if the student continues to meet all applicable

 

eligibility requirements. A leave of absence under this subdivision

 

does not disrupt the requirement of continuous enrollment under

 

subdivision (c)(i) and does not count toward the 4-year limitation

 

described in subdivision (f)(i).

 

     (f) A student is eligible for a Michigan reconnect grant until

 

the occurrence of either of the following:


     (i) Subject to subdivision (e), 4 years have passed since the

 

student became a Michigan reconnect grant student.

 

     (ii) The student has earned an associate degree. For purposes

 

of this subparagraph, a student who has earned a certificate or

 

credential at an eligible institution remains eligible for the

 

Michigan reconnect grant if he or she has not yet earned an

 

associate degree and the completion of the certificate or

 

credential directly leads to an associate degree program.

 

     (g) A student who participates in the Michigan reconnect grant

 

program may transfer from 1 eligible institution to another

 

eligible institution without loss of the grant so long as the

 

student continues to meet all eligibility requirements for the

 

grant.

 

     Sec. 4. The department shall promulgate rules to implement

 

this act pursuant to the administrative procedures act of 1969,

 

1969 PA 306, MCL 24.201 to 24.328.

 

     Enacting section 1. It is the intent of the legislature that

 

money in the talent investment fund created in section 8a of the

 

higher education loan authority act, 1975 PA 222, MCL 390.1158a,

 

shall be expended, upon appropriation, for the purpose of funding

 

the Michigan reconnect grant program established in the Michigan

 

reconnect grant act, in accordance with section 8a of the higher

 

education loan authority act, 1975 PA 222, MCL 390.1158a, which

 

states that money in the talent investment fund, upon

 

appropriation, shall be expended "for the purpose of enhancing the

 

economic talent of Michigan residents, increasing access to

 

academic and technical credentials or certifications, improving


educational opportunities, or other purposes as provided by law".