SECTION 1. The second sentence of section 2SSS of chapter 29 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting the words “public or nonprofit” after the word “accredited”.
SECTION 2. Section 2SSS of chapter 29 of the General Laws is hereby amended by deleting the words “The grant program shall serve as a last resort, after other federal and state grants have been exhausted” in the second to the last sentence and inserting in lieu thereof the words, “The amount of the award shall be applied towards student financial need in excess of the financial need met by other federal, state or private grants without regard to the amount that may be available through loans”.
SECTION 3. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, a portion of the Educational Rewards Grant Program Fund established pursuant to section 2SSS of chapter 29 of the General Laws shall be used for a “Supports for Success” pilot program to assist Educational Rewards recipients complete their degree or certificate programs; provided further, that supports provided through said pilot may include but need not be limited to intensive advising and counseling, college and career success courses, work study jobs in the students’ field of study, learning communities, curricula redesign to support blended or accelerated remediation, mentoring or tutoring, and child care and transportation assistance.
SECTION 4. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, on or before December 1 of each year, the Department of Higher Education in collaboration with the Office of Student Financial Assistance shall submit to the house and senate clerks and the chairs of house and senate committees on ways and means a report on use in the prior fiscal year of the Educational Rewards Grant Program Fund established pursuant to section 2SSS of chapter 29 of the General Laws; provided further, that such report shall include but need not be limited to the number of grants awarded, the amount of each grant, the level of educational attainment of grant recipients before the grant was awarded, degrees and certificates awarded to recipients, recipient demographic information, recipient retention rates while receiving the grant, and analysis of the strengths and areas of needed improvement in Educational Rewards Grant Program and the “Supports for Success” pilot program and recommendations for such improvements.
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