Educational Rewards Grant Program Fund
Section 2SSS. There is hereby established and set up on the books of the commonwealth a separate fund to be known as the Educational Rewards Grant Program Fund, hereinafter referred to as the fund. The fund shall provide, without further appropriation, grants to students in accredited post-secondary certificate or vocational technology programs or associate degree programs in targeted high-demand occupations. The department of career services and the board of higher education in consultation with the Massachusetts Workforce Board Association, the state workforce investment board, the reach higher initiative and the workforce accountability task force established under section 11 of chapter 23H shall determine the eligible high demand occupations. If a Bachelor's degree program is needed for a profession in critical demand, it may be added to the eligible programs. Of the appropriation for grants, up to 1/3 may be used for students enrolled as full-time students and at least 2/3 of the total grant amount shall be reserved for students enrolled 1/2 time or less. Grant recipients shall be limited to dislocated workers or those with incomes at or below 200 per cent of the federal poverty level or other standards or criteria as may be established by the department and the board in consultation with the workforce accountability task force established under section 11 of chapter 23H. Grants from the program fund shall be a maximum of $3,000 and shall be used to fund tuition, fees and books; provided, however, that up to 30 per cent of the grant amount may be applied to fund living expenses. The grant program shall serve as a last resort, after other federal and state grants have been exhausted. The department of career services and the board of higher education shall jointly administer the grant program.