SECTION 1. Chapter 15A of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2014 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting, after section 16, the following new section:-
Section 16A. Finish Line Scholarship Program
There shall be a Finish Line Scholarship Program to provide scholarships to cover the entire cost of tuition and fees for one year other than the first, in a program leading to an associate’s or bachelor’s degree at a Massachusetts public college or university. The scholarships will be available to residents of the Commonwealth in need of financial assistance whose family income is less than the median family income in Massachusetts.
The Department of Higher Education shall establish guidelines governing said program, which shall include but not be limited to eligibility requirements, selection criteria (such as acceptable grades and an academic plan for timely degree completion), and other guidelines designed to help meet the department’s goals, such as increasing overall student success and graduation rates, and lowering achievement gaps for high-risk students; provided, further, that no funds from this scholarship program may be used to pay the tuition or fees for any course or program offered or administered by a non-public entity and that no student shall be eligible to receive a scholarship from this program more than one time.
If funds appropriated for this program are insufficient to cover costs of qualified applicants, the department shall hold a lottery for available scholarships. The funds for the program are meant to supplement and not supplant existing scholarship funds; funds for this program shall not be derived from existing financial aid programs the Commonwealth administers.
The department shall provide the Joint Committee of Higher Education of the General Court a report analyzing the usage, achievements and costs of this program, together with recommendations for its future, no later than 120 days following the program’s first year of operation.
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