SB 649 - For students graduating in the 2017-2018 school year or after, this act expands eligibility requirements to include a qualifying score on one of several options for assessment in the fields of mathematics and English. Additionally, for eligible students unable to maintain continuous enrollment due to serious and unusual personal circumstances, the act allows such a student to seek a waiver from the attendance requirements.
The act also modifies the "Higher Education Academic Scholarship Program" to include the option of receiving forgivable loans. It also creates the "Higher Education Academic Trust Fund" to provide the loans. Eligible borrowers may receive forgivable loans for up to ten semesters (or equivalent). Eligible borrowers enrolled at a public four-year college or university, the State Technical College of Missouri, or an approved private institution may receive up to $5,000 per academic year. Eligible borrowers enrolled in a public community college may receive up to $2,000 per academic year.
Eligible borrowers who remain in compliance may qualify for loan forgiveness by agreeing to be employed in the state of Missouri within one calendar year of cessation of full-time attendance. Forgiveness of loans is on a year-to-year basis. One year of qualifying employment authorizes the forgiveness of the loan amount received in one academic year. Eligible borrowers that fail to meet employment or other requirements shall be required to repay with interest all outstanding loan balances.
The Coordinating Board shall enter into an annual contract with the eligible borrower once the individual elects to participate in the loan forgiveness program.
This act is substantially similar to HCS/HB 272 (2015), SB 299 (2015), and HCS/HB 1308 (2014).