Section 231.6215, Florida Statutes 2001
231.6215 Student Fellowship Program.--
(1) The Student Fellowship Program is created to provide 2-year scholarship loans of $6,500 per year to students who are residents of this state and who are rising juniors at a state community college, state university, or independent postsecondary education institution that is eligible to participate in the William L. Boyd, IV, Florida Resident Access Grant Program or to education paraprofessional learning guides, as defined in s. 231.700(3), who are pursuing a bachelor's degree in order to become an associate teacher, as defined in s. 231.700(3).
(2) The Department of Education shall administer the program in cooperation with participating postsecondary education institutions.
(a) A student fellowship recipient shall participate in a 12-month program developed by the participating postsecondary education institution in consultation with the department.
(b) The recipient must receive intensive preparation in a content area combined with ongoing experience with school children through internships or working with a master teacher identified as a mentor.
(3) To continue to receive a fellowship, a student fellowship recipient must maintain satisfactory progress toward a baccalaureate degree at a participating postsecondary institution. The department shall set standards for satisfactory progress, which must exceed the standards required of other students majoring in education and which may include extracurricular activities related to the program.
(4) A recipient may receive a fellowship loan for 2 years. The department shall forgive the fellowship loan if, within 5 years after graduation, the recipient teaches full time for 3 years at a Florida public school or for 2 years at a Florida public school designated as performance grade category "D" or "F," pursuant to s. 229.57. The department shall also forgive a loan if it finds that the recipient cannot teach for the required number of years due to the death or permanent and total disability of the recipient or other extraordinary extenuating circumstances.
(5) If a student fellowship recipient does not graduate within 2 years, or if the recipient graduates but, within the first 5 years after graduation, does not fulfill the required employment as a teacher in a public school in this state, the fellowship recipient must repay the total amount awarded, plus annual interest of 8 percent.
(a) Interest begins accruing the first day of the 13th month after the fourth anniversary of the month in which the recipient receives a baccalaureate degree, or after the month in which enrollment as a full-time student is terminated. Interest does not accrue during any period of deferment or eligible teaching service.
(b) The repayment period begins the first day of the 13th month after the month in which the fourth anniversary of college graduation occurs or after the month in which enrollment as a full-time student is terminated.
(c) The terms and conditions of the fellowship repayment must be contained in both a promissory note and a repayment schedule. The loan must be paid within 10 years after the date of graduation or termination of full-time enrollment, including any periods of deferment. A shorter repayment period may be granted. The minimum monthly repayment is $50 or the unpaid balance, unless otherwise approved, except that the monthly payment may not be less than the accruing interest. The recipient may prepay all or any part of the scholarship without penalty.
(d) The holder of the promissory note may grant a deferment of repayment for a recipient who is unable to secure a teaching position that would qualify as repayment, who becomes disabled, or who experiences other hardships. Such a deferment may be granted for a total of 24 months and may not exceed 12 consecutive months.
(6) All funds appropriated to or otherwise received by the Student Fellowship Program for scholarships, all funds received as repayment of scholarship loans, and all interest earned on these funds must be placed in a revolving fund within the State Student Financial Assistance Trust Fund. Notwithstanding the provisions of s. 216.301, and pursuant to s. 216.351, any balance in the fund at the end of any fiscal year which has been allocated to the Student Fellowship Program must remain in the fund and will be available for carrying out the purposes of this section. With the prior approval of the Legislature in the General Appropriations Act, the revolving fund may also be used for campus and summer program support and costs relating to disbursement of awards and the collection of loan repayments.
(7) This section shall be implemented to the extent specifically funded in the General Appropriations Act.
History.--s. 53, ch. 2000-301; s. 16, ch. 2001-61.