Resolved, That a special commission is hereby established for the purposes of making an investigation and study relative to the commonwealth’s college scholarship system. The commission shall consist of: the speaker of the house of representatives or a designee; the president of the senate or a designee; the minority leader of the house of representative or a designee; the minority leader of the senate or a designee; the house chair of the joint committee on higher education or a designee; the senate chair of the joint committee on higher education or a designee; the secretary of education or a designee; the commissioner of higher education or a designee; the executive director of the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority or a designee; and 6 persons appointed by the governor 1 of whom shall be a representative from the University of Massachusetts, 1 of whom shall be a representative from the state universities, 1 of whom shall be a representative from the community colleges, 1 of whom shall be a representative from the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts, 1 of whom shall be a representative from the Massachusetts Bankers Association and 1 of whom shall be a representative from Families United in Educational Leadership.
The special commission shall make an investigation and study of the scholarship programs that provide financial assistance to students in the commonwealth enrolled in or pursuing a program of higher education at any approved public or independent college, university or school of nursing, or any other approved institution furnishing a program of higher education, and shall focus on students with little or no family history of college attendance. The study shall examine methods that have been used in the commonwealth and other states to better prepare these students for college. The study shall include, but not be limited to: the examination of voluntary college savings programs focused on the needs of these families; the possible use of federally matched independent development accounts; the impact of committing scholarship funds to students prior to the twelfth grade; the need for a pilot program for ninth through twelfth grade students in up to 5 public school districts to encourage family engagement and student academic achievement through the use of scholarships in conjunction with family savings for college; and potential additional funding sources for a college savings matching program with priority placed on financial matches that have no additional cost to the commonwealth.
The commission shall report to the general court the results of its investigation and study, and its recommendations, if any, with the clerks of the senate and house of representatives who shall forward the same to the joint committee on higher education and the senate and house committees on ways and means not later than June 30, 2011.
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