Florida Senate - 2018 SB 944 By Senator Montford 3-00607-18 2018944__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to the Teacher Scholarship Program; 3 creating s. 1009.897, F.S.; establishing the Teacher 4 Scholarship Program within the Department of 5 Education; providing a purpose of, and the criteria 6 for, student eligibility for the program; specifying 7 duties of each postsecondary institution for the 8 program; providing for disbursement of the scholarship 9 awards; providing for stipends; specifying funding and 10 the department’s authority to prorate awards under a 11 certain circumstance; providing for rulemaking; 12 providing an effective date. 13 14 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 15 16 Section 1. Section 1009.897, Florida Statutes, is created 17 to read: 18 1009.897 The Teacher Scholarship Program.— 19 (1) The Teacher Scholarship Program is established within 20 the department to encourage students who exhibit academic 21 excellence to pursue a career in education. The program shall 22 provide scholarships to eligible students for upper-division 23 undergraduate and graduate study. The program shall also provide 24 a one-time stipend to students who complete their program of 25 study and their first year of employment as a classroom teacher 26 at a public school in this state. 27 (2) To be eligible for an undergraduate scholarship under 28 the program, a student must meet all of the following 29 requirements: 30 (a) Be a full-time, upper-division undergraduate student in 31 a teacher-preparation program approved by the department 32 pursuant to s. 1004.04. 33 (b) The general student eligibility requirements for state 34 financial aid as specified in s. 1009.40, except as otherwise 35 provided in this section. 36 (c) The following academic requirements: 37 1. Earn an SAT score that corresponds to the 80th SAT 38 percentile rank or a concordant ACT score; and 39 2. Maintain a minimum cumulative undergraduate grade point 40 average of 3.25 on a 4.0 scale. 41 (3) To be eligible for a graduate scholarship under the 42 program, a student must meet all of the following requirements: 43 (a) The criteria specified in paragraphs (2)(b) and (c). 44 (b) Hold a bachelor’s degree from any college or university 45 accredited by a regional accrediting association as defined by 46 State Board of Education rule. 47 (c) Be a full-time graduate student in an eligible 48 postsecondary graduate teacher education program leading to a 49 master’s, specialist, or doctoral degree. 50 (d) Not have previously received a teaching certificate 51 resulting from an undergraduate degree in education. 52 (e) Not have received an undergraduate scholarship pursuant 53 to this section. 54 (4) Each postsecondary institution shall do all of the 55 following: 56 (a) By each September 1, certify to the department the 57 names of students eligible for the program. 58 (b) Throughout the academic year, notify the department of 59 any scholarship recipient whose scholarship should be rescinded 60 due to disenrollment from the teacher education program. 61 (5)(a) An eligible undergraduate student may be awarded a 62 scholarship of up to $5,000 per semester, not to exceed $10,000 63 per year, for 2 undergraduate years or for a maximum of 3 years 64 for a program that requires a fifth year of instruction to 65 obtain an initial teaching certification. 66 (b) An eligible graduate student may be awarded a 67 scholarship of up to $5,000 per semester, not to exceed $10,000 68 per year, for up to 2 years. 69 (6)(a) A scholarship recipient may receive a one-time 70 stipend of $10,000 after: 71 1. Completing the teacher education program required under 72 this section and earning a bachelor’s or graduate degree, as 73 applicable; 74 2. Notifying the department, in a manner prescribed by 75 department rule, that he or she has been employed by a school 76 district in this state as a classroom teacher as defined in s. 77 1012.01(2); and 78 3. Completing his or her first year of employment as a 79 classroom teacher at a public school in this state. 80 (b) No later than each June 1, the department shall 81 disburse the stipend to each school district for an eligible 82 candidate whose employment is confirmed as of May 1. A candidate 83 who is hired after the first quarter of the academic year is 84 eligible for a prorated stipend as determined by the department. 85 A candidate may not receive both the stipend and an award under 86 s. 1012.731. 87 (7) This section shall be implemented only to the extent 88 specifically funded and authorized by law. The department may 89 prorate the scholarships and stipends authorized by this section 90 if the appropriation is insufficient to fully fund each eligible 91 student. 92 (8) The State Board of Education shall adopt rules to 93 administer the program. 94 Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2018.