CHAPTER 374

HOUSE BILL NO. 324

AS AMENDED BY HOUSE AMENDMENT NO. 1

AND SENATE AMENDMENT NO. 1

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 14, DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO ESTABLISHING A SPEECH LANGUAGE PATHOLOGIST INCENTIVE PROGRAM.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:

Section 1. Amend Title 14, Delaware Code by adding thereto a new Chapter 89 to read as follows:

"Chapter 89. Speech Language Pathologist Incentive Program.
§8901. Purpose.

It is the intent and purpose of the General Assembly through this chapter to enable and encourage academically talented Delawareans to pursue careers as speech language pathologists in the public school system of Delaware.

§8902. Administration.

(a) This chapter shall be administered by the Delaware Higher Education Commission, hereinafter referred to as the "Commission."

(a) The Commission shall adopt rules and regulations as it deems necessary and proper to the administration of this subchapter.

(a) The Commission shall annually report to the General Assembly the number of recipients, the institutions attended by the recipients and the total amount of expenditures made under this subchapter.

§8903. Scholarship Loans.

(a) The Commission is hereby authorized to award educational scholarship loans subject to the limits of its appropriations for this purpose.

(a) For the purposes of this section a scholarship/loan, referred to hereinafter as "award", is a loan, the repayment of which is forgiven when the borrower is employed as a Speech Language Pathologist in the public schools of the State for a period of time in accordance with the conditions specified in §8905 of this title.

(b) Awards shall be provided for graduate education at
regionally-accredited institutions of higher education, that offer a master's degree that will satisfy the degree requirements for Delaware State licensure as a Speech Language Pathologist.

(a) No student shall be eligible for such award who is not a resident of the State for at least 1 year prior to the approval of the award. The place of residence of a student who is either under 18 years of age or dependent on parental financial support shall be the legal residence of his parent or guardian who must have qualified as a registered voter in Delaware and who is subject to payment of Delaware income tax. A student over 18 years of age, who is not dependent on parental financial support must meet the federal government's financial self-supporting student definition, and must have qualified as a registered voter in Delaware and must be subject to the payment of Delaware income tax, to satisfy the requirement of this section. An independent student may not satisfy the requirement for legal residence in Delaware while his/her principal occupation is that of student.

(a) Awards shall be made to college graduates who have received a baccalaureate degree and who are enrolled as full-time students in graduate programs which prepare students for speech/language pathology licenses.

(1) The number of awards will be determined annually by the

Commission.

(f) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, awards may be made available, on a prorated basis, to employees of Delaware's public schools who are enrolled as part—time students in programs which prepare them for speech/language pathology licenses.

(g) Initial awards shall be made in priority order based on academic merit and financial need. Academic merit shall be evaluated using criteria adopted by the Commission.

(a) The amount of each award will be determined annually by the
Commission, except that the award shall not exceed the cost of tuition, books, fees and other direct educational expenses.

(b) Awards shall be renewable within the limits of appropriations for the program, provided the student meets the academic progress standards which shall be set by the Commission and communicated in writing to the recipient at the time the initial award is granted. No student shall
receive more than two year's support from this program, or the equivalent on a prorated basis for qualifying part—time students.

§8904. Disbursement.

Funds awarded from this program shall be disbursed on a semester basis and shall be disbursed to the institution that the student attends, not directly to the student.

§8905. Repayment and Forgiveness.

(a) Repayment or forgiveness will commence 6 months after the student completes the master's degree program or immediately after the student discontinues enrollment prior to completion.

(b)(1) If after 6 months following graduation the recipient is

employed as a Speech Language Pathologist in the public schools system of Delaware, no repayment of award principal or interest will be required. For each two years the recipient is so employed the repayment of 1 year's award will be forgiven.

(2) If during the period of repayment the recipient terminates employment with the public school system of the State, the recipient will be required to commence repayment of the awards or portions thereof which have not been forgiven at the time of the employment termination.

(3) If after 6 months following graduation the recipient is not employed as a Speech Language Pathologist in the public school system in Delaware, the recipient shall be obligated to make monthly payments to the Commission until the full amount of the award and interest on the award from the date of origination is paid in full.

(1) If during the period of repayment the recipient becomes employed as a Speech Language Pathologist in the public school district of the State, payments will be deferred and 1 year's award will be forgiven for each two years the recipient is so employed. Under no circumstances will payments already made by the recipient be reimbursed as a result of subsequent employment.

(1) The Commission shall determine the amounts of monthly payments, the length of the repayment period, and the rate and type of interest to accrue on awards.

(2) The Commission shall communicate the terms of repayment and interest accrual to the recipient and secure a promissory note from the recipient attesting to the recipient's agreement to such terms as shall be established."

Approved July 12, 1994.