Section 1009.72, Florida Statutes 2009
1009.72 Jose Marti Scholarship Challenge Grant Program.--
(1) There is hereby established a Jose Marti Scholarship Challenge Grant Program to be administered by the Department of Education pursuant to this section and rules of the State Board of Education. The program shall provide matching grants for private sources that raise money for scholarships to be awarded to Hispanic-American students.
(2) Funds appropriated by the Legislature for the program shall be deposited in the State Student Financial Assistance Trust Fund. The Chief Financial Officer shall authorize expenditures from the trust fund upon receipt of vouchers approved by the Department of Education. All moneys collected from private sources for the purposes of this section shall be deposited into the trust fund. Any balance in the trust fund at the end of any fiscal year that has been allocated to the program shall remain therein and shall be available for carrying out the purposes of the program.
(3) The Legislature shall designate funds to be transferred to the trust fund for the program from the General Revenue Fund. Such funds shall be divided into challenge grants to be administered by the Department of Education. All appropriated funds deposited into the trust fund for the program shall be invested pursuant to the provisions of s. 17.61. Interest income accruing to that portion of the funds that are allocated to the program in the trust fund and not matched shall increase the total funds available for the program.
(4) The amount appropriated to the trust fund for the program shall be allocated by the department on the basis of one $5,000 challenge grant for each $2,500 raised from private sources. Matching funds shall be generated through contributions made after July 1, 1986, and pledged for the purposes of this section. Pledged contributions shall not be eligible for matching prior to the actual collection of the total funds.
(5)(a) In order to be eligible to receive a scholarship pursuant to this section, an applicant shall:
1. Be a Hispanic-American, or a person of Spanish culture with origins in Mexico, South America, Central America, or the Caribbean, regardless of race.
2. Be a citizen of the United States and meet the general requirements for student eligibility as provided in s. 1009.40, except as otherwise provided in this section.
3. Be accepted at a state university or community college or any Florida college or university that is accredited by an association whose standards are comparable to the minimum standards required to operate a postsecondary education institution at that level in Florida.
4. Enroll as a full-time undergraduate or graduate student.
5. Earn a 3.0 unweighted grade point average on a 4.0 scale, or the equivalent for high school subjects creditable toward a diploma. If an applicant applies as a graduate student, he or she shall have earned a 3.0 cumulative grade point average for undergraduate college-level courses.
(b) In order to renew a scholarship awarded pursuant to this section, a student must:
1. Earn a grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for the previous term, maintain at least a 3.0 average for college work, or have an average below 3.0 only for the previous term and be eligible for continued enrollment at the institution.
2. Maintain full-time enrollment.
(6) The annual scholarship to each recipient shall be $2,000. Priority in the distribution of scholarships shall be given to students with the lowest total family resources. Renewal scholarships shall take precedence over new awards in any year in which funds are not sufficient to meet the total need. No undergraduate student shall receive an award for more than the equivalent of 8 semesters or 12 quarters over a period of no more than 6 consecutive years, except as otherwise provided in s. 1009.40(3). No graduate student shall receive an award for more than the equivalent of 4 semesters or 6 quarters.
(7) The criteria and procedure for establishing standards of eligibility shall be determined by the department. The department is directed to establish a rating system upon which to base the approval of grants. Such system shall include a certification of acceptability by the postsecondary institution of the applicant's choice.
(8) Payment of scholarships shall be transmitted to the president of the postsecondary institution that the recipient is attending or to the president's designee. Should a recipient terminate his or her enrollment during the academic year, the president or his or her designee shall refund the unused portion of the scholarship to the department within 60 days. In the event that a recipient transfers from one eligible institution to another, his or her scholarship shall be transferable upon approval of the department.
(9) This section shall be implemented to the extent funded and authorized by law.
History.--s. 454, ch. 2002-387; s. 1960, ch. 2003-261.