SECTION 1. Notwithstanding section 6D of chapter 29 of the General Laws, to provide for a financial assistance program for post-secondary education in the commonwealth, the sum set forth in section 2 is hereby appropriated from the General Fund to the trust fund named within the item and established pursuant to this act.
Massachusetts Educational Trust Fund
7066- XXXX For the Massachusetts Educational Trust Fund established in section 2WWWW of chapter 29 of the General Laws for the purposes specified in said section 2WWWW……..$1,000,000.
SECTION 3. Chapter 29 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 2VVVV, inserted by section 41 of chapter 133 of the acts of 2016,the following section:-
Section 2WWWW. (a) There is hereby established and set up on the books of the commonwealth a separate fund to be known as the Massachusetts Educational Trust Fund, hereinafter referred to as the fund. The fund shall provide, without further appropriation, financial assistance to students to attain post-secondary degrees at accredited public institutions of higher education or community colleges in the commonwealth. There shall be credited to the fund: (i) monies from appropriations or other monies authorized by the general court and specifically designated to be credited to the fund, and (ii) all monies received from public or private sources, included but not limited to gifts, grants, donations, rebates and settlements received by the commonwealth that are specifically designated to be credited to the fund. Revenues deposited into the fund that are unexpended at the end of the fiscal year shall not revert to the General Fund and shall be available for expenditure in the following fiscal year. The board of higher education, hereinafter referred to as the board, shall administer the fund and the financial assistance program pursuant to this section.
(b) Students shall submit to the board applications for financial assistance from the fund. The income of an applicant’s parents or guardians shall not be a factor in determining eligibility for financial assistance from the fund, or the amount of financial assistance an applicant may receive.
(c) The board shall establish repayment plans with each recipient of financial assistance from the fund. Recipients shall begin repayment of financial assistance 6 months from the date the recipient graduated or received a degree from an accredited public institution of higher education or a community college. Recipients that move outside of the commonwealth after such graduation or receipt of a degree shall have 1 year from the date of such graduation or receipt of degree to establish a repayment plan with the board and begin repayment. Repayment shall occur in the form of wage deductions from the recipient’s paycheck. If a recipient remains unemployed at the time repayment is scheduled to begin, or otherwise is not capable of repayment through such a wage deduction, the board shall establish an alternative plan for repayment. The board shall establish a reasonable interest rate for repayments pursuant to this section.
(d) The board shall promulgate regulations to: (i) establish a process through which students shall apply and receive financial assistance from the fund; (ii) establish a process for repayment of financial assistance, including the establishment of a reasonable interest rate for repayment; and (iii) otherwise carry out the provisions of this section.
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