Section 19: Tuition and fee waiver program; guidelines; annual report
Section 19. There shall be a single tuition and fee waiver program administered by the council in accordance with guidelines established by the council to govern the program, provided that no tuition waiver be funded by the transfer of funds appropriated pursuant to section sixteen.
Such guidelines (i) shall establish institutional waiver allocation formulas and eligibility requirements, including needs criteria, for designated waiver programs, (ii) shall provide full or partial tuition waivers for specific categories of students designated by the council which may include veterans, armed forces personnel, senior citizens, and graduate students, (iii) may provide full or partial waivers for additional categories of students not included in clause (ii), and (iv) may provide full or partial waivers of tuition or fees for undergraduate programs, summer sessions, evening classes, or any specific courses or set of courses.
Such guidelines shall provide tuition and fee waivers for Massachusetts National Guard members. The commonwealth, not the institutions of public higher education, shall bear the cost of such tuition and fee waivers for Massachusetts National Guard members.
Tuition waivers for graduate students shall be administered by each institution of public higher education. Said institutions shall annually and on a date specified by the council submit a written report to the board detailing graduate student waiver policies and distributions of said waivers.
Upon the adoption of guidelines in accordance with the provisions of this section the council shall file copies of thereof with the clerks of the house and the senate, who shall refer such guidelines to the house and senate committees on ways and means and the joint committee on education, arts and humanities.
The council shall annually on or before March fifteenth report to the house and senate committees on ways and means and to the joint committee on education, arts and humanities regarding any modifications to the guidelines setting forth tuition waiver programs. Said report shall include information relative to tuition waivers for graduate students as administered by the several institutions of public higher education.
Notwithstanding the provisions of any general or special law to the contrary, the board of higher education shall provide full tuition waivers at each community college for students who are clients of and who meet the eligibility requirements of the Massachusetts rehabilitation commission or the Massachusetts commission for the blind.
The program shall provide full tuition and fee waivers for any state-supported course offered by an institution at a public institution of higher education, excluding graduate courses and courses in the MD program at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, and including courses toward an undergraduate degree program, certificate program, short-term certificate program and noncredit courses at each community college, state university and undergraduate campus of the University of Massachusetts for students who are not over the age of 24 and who, while in the custody of the department of children and families, were adopted by an eligible Massachusetts resident or commonwealth employee as determined by the department of children and families in conjunction with the human resources division. The commonwealth, not the institutions of public higher education, shall bear the cost of these waivers after all reimbursements from the federal government have been exhausted.
The program shall provide tuition and fee waivers for any person who, upon reaching the age of 18, is in the custody of the department of children and families or is the subject of a legal guardianship sponsored by the department. No such person shall be required to remain in the care of the department beyond the age of 18 to qualify for these waivers. Persons who return to the care of the department after the age of 18 may qualify for these waivers. The commonwealth, not the institutions of public higher education, shall bear the cost of these waivers after all reimbursements from the federal government have been exhausted.
The board of higher education shall, subject to appropriation, establish a program to provide grants to residents of the commonwealth who are working as paraprofessionals in public schools of the commonwealth while pursuing a bachelor's degree at a public institution of higher education in the commonwealth in order to become a certified teacher in the commonwealth. Eligibility shall be limited to persons (a) who have worked as a paraprofessional in the public schools of the commonwealth for a minimum period of 2 years before receipt of such grant, or who are paraprofessionals who have worked in public schools for a lesser time, and (b) who are enrolled in and pursuing courses of study that will lead to certification as a teacher in bilingual education, special education, math, science or foreign languages, and (c) who commit to teach and actually teach for such period as the board of higher education may determine in the public schools of the commonwealth upon graduation and certification under section 38G of chapter 71. The board of higher education shall establish guidelines governing implementation of the program. Such guidelines shall include, but not be limited to, the following: (i) the level of academic achievement grant recipients must maintain while participating in the grant program; (ii) the financial responsibilities of grant recipients should they fail to complete their teacher certification; and (iii) the duties and obligations of grant recipients upon completion of certification, including the minimum number of years that they shall be required to work as a teacher in a public school of the commonwealth. Such grants shall be used to defray the cost of tuition and fees at a public institution of higher education in the commonwealth.