State Codes and Statutes

Statutes > Illinois > Chapter110 > 1161

    (110 ILCS 947/1)
    Sec. 1. Short title. This Act may be cited as the Higher Education Student Assistance Act.
(Source: P.A. 87‑997.)

    (110 ILCS 947/5)
    Sec. 5. Purpose. The General Assembly finds and declares that (1) the provision of a higher education for all residents of this State who desire a higher education and are properly qualified therefor is important to the welfare and security of this State and Nation and, consequently, is an important public purpose, and (2) many qualified students are deterred by financial considerations from completing their education, with a consequent irreparable loss to the State and Nation of talents vital to welfare and security. The number of qualified persons who desire a higher education is increasing rapidly, and the physical facilities, faculties, and staffs of the institutions of higher learning operated by, within and for the residents of the State will have to be expanded greatly to accommodate those persons, with an attendant sharp increase in the cost of educating them. A system of financial assistance of scholarships, grants, and loans for qualified residents of college age will enable them to attend qualified institutions of their choice in the State, public or private. The adoption of new federal student loan legislation necessitates that the State update and broaden its system of financial student assistance.
    As market conditions permit, the Commission is specifically encouraged to offer reasonable and affordable supplemental or alternative educational loans to students who seek to obtain these loans. As part of these alternative or supplemental direct lending initiatives, the Commission may give priority consideration to students assisted by the Commission's need‑based programs.
    The system of financial assistance provided under this Act includes prepaid programs for college savings, and the Commission is specifically encouraged to enlist employers in providing voluntary matching donations to the amount that their employees save through these prepaid programs.
(Source: P.A. 96‑198, eff. 8‑10‑09.)

    (110 ILCS 947/10)
    Sec. 10. Definitions. In this Act, and except to the extent that any of the following words or phrases is specifically qualified by its context:
    "Commission" means the Illinois Student Assistance Commission created by this Act.
    "Enrollment" means the establishment and maintenance of an individual's status as a student in an institution of higher learning, regardless of the terms used at the institution to describe that status.
    "Approved high school" means any public high school located in this State; and any high school, located in this State or elsewhere (whether designated as a high school, secondary school, academy, preparatory school, or otherwise) which in the judgment of the State Superintendent of Education provides a course of instruction at the secondary level and maintains standards of instruction substantially equivalent to those of the public high schools located in this State.
    "Institution of higher learning", "qualified institution", or "institution" means an educational organization located in this State which
        (1) provides at least an organized 2 year program of
     collegiate grade in the liberal arts or sciences, or both, directly applicable toward the attainment of a baccalaureate degree or a program in health education directly applicable toward the attainment of a certificate, diploma, or an associate degree;
        (2) either is
            (A) operated by this State, or
            (B) operated publicly or privately, not for
         profit, or
            (C) operated for profit, provided such for
         profit organization
                (i) offers degree programs which have been
             approved by the Board of Higher Education for a minimum of 3 years under the Academic Degree Act, and
                (ii) enrolls a majority of its students in
             such degree programs, and
                (iii) maintains an accredited status with
             the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools;
        (3) in the judgment of the Commission meets
     standards substantially equivalent to those of comparable institutions operated by this State; and
        (4) if so required by the Commission, uses the State
     as its primary guarantor of student loans made under the federal Higher Education Act of 1965.
For otherwise eligible educational organizations which provide academic programs for incarcerated students, the terms "institution of higher learning", "qualified institutions", and "institution" shall specifically exclude academic programs for incarcerated students.
    "Academic Year" means a 12 month period of time, normally but not exclusively, from September 1 of any year through August 31 of the ensuing year.
    "Full‑time student" means any undergraduate student enrolled in 12 or more semester or quarter hours of credit courses in any given semester or quarter or in the equivalent number of units of registration as determined by the Commission.
    "Part‑time student" means any undergraduate student, other than a full‑time student, enrolled in 6 or more semester or quarter hours of credit courses in any given semester or quarter or in the equivalent number of units of registration as determined by the Commission. Beginning with fiscal year 1999, the Commission may, on a program by program basis, expand this definition of "part‑time student" to include students who enroll in less than 6 semester or quarter hours of credit courses in any given semester or quarter.
(Source: P.A. 90‑122, eff. 7‑17‑97; 91‑250, eff. 7‑22‑99.)

    (110 ILCS 947/15)
    Sec. 15. Illinois Student Assistance Commission.
    (a) There is established the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, consisting of 10 persons to be appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate. The membership of the Commission shall consist of one representative of the institutions of higher learning operated by the State; one representative of the private institutions of higher learning located in the State; one representative of the public community colleges located in the State; one representative of the public high schools located in the State; 5 citizens of the State chosen for their knowledge of and interest in higher education, but not employed by, professionally affiliated with, or members of the governing boards of any institution of higher learning located in the State, and one student member selected from nominations submitted to the Governor by multi‑campus student organizations, including but not limited to, the Illinois Student Association, the Organization of Community College Students, the recognized advisory committee of students of the Board of Higher Education, and the recognized advisory committee of students of the Federation of Independent Illinois Colleges and Universities. The Governor shall designate one member, other than the student member, as chairman. Each member of the Commission, including the student member, shall serve without compensation, but shall be reimbursed for expenses necessarily incurred in performing his or her duties under this Act. Subject to a requirement that Commission members in office on the effective date of this amendatory Act of 1995 may serve the full term to which they were appointed, the appointment of Commission members to terms that commence on or after that effective date shall be made in a manner that gives effect at the earliest possible time to the change that is required by this amendatory Act in the representative composition of the Commission's membership.
    (b) The term of office of each member, other than the student member, is 6 years from July 1 of the year of appointment, and until his successor is appointed and qualified. If a member's tenure of office, other than that of the student member, is terminated for any reason before his or her term has expired, the Governor shall fill the vacancy by the appointment of a person who has the same representative status as the person whose term has been so terminated, and the new appointee shall hold office only for the remainder of that term and until a successor is appointed and qualified. The term of the student member shall be for 2 years from July 1 of each odd‑numbered year. If the tenure of the student member is terminated for any reason, the vacancy shall be filled in the same manner as heretofore provided for a regular term of office appointment of the student member. The new student appointee shall hold office only for the remainder of that term. No student member may receive a scholarship or grant pursuant to this Act during his or her term of office with the Commission.
    (c) In accordance with the provisions of the State Universities Civil Service Act, the Commission shall employ a professionally qualified person as the Executive Director of the Commission, and such other employees as may be necessary to effectuate the purposes of this Act.
    (d) The Commission shall meet at least once in each fiscal year, and may meet at other times which the Chairman may designate by giving at least 10 days' written notice to each member.
(Source: P.A. 89‑419, eff. 6‑1‑96.)

    (110 ILCS 947/20)
    Sec. 20. Functions of Commission.
    (a) The Commission, in accordance with this Act, shall prepare and supervise the issuance of public information concerning its provisions; prescribe the form and regulate the submission of applications for assistance; provide for and conduct, or cause to be conducted, all eligibility determinations of applicants; award the appropriate financial assistance; and, upon request by a member of the General Assembly, nominate or evaluate and recommend for nomination applicants for General Assembly scholarships in accordance with criteria specified by the member under Section 30‑9 of the School Code.
    (b) The Commission is authorized to participate in any programs for monetary assistance to students and to receive, hold, and disburse all such funds made available by any agency or organization for the purpose or purposes for which they are made available. The Commission is authorized to administer a program of grant assistance as authorized by the Baccalaureate Savings Act. The Commission is authorized to participate in any programs established to improve student financial aid services or the proficiency of persons engaged in student financial aid services and to receive, hold, and disburse all funds made available by any agency or organization for the purpose or purposes for which they are made available subject to the appropriations of the General Assembly.
    (c) The Commission is authorized to deny a scholarship or a grant to any person who has defaulted on a guaranteed student loan and who is not maintaining a satisfactory repayment record. If a person has a defaulted guaranteed student loan but is otherwise eligible for assistance pursuant to Section 40, the Commission shall award one term of assistance during which a satisfactory repayment record must be established. If such a repayment record is not established, additional assistance shall be denied until a satisfactory repayment record is established.
    (d) The Commission is authorized to participate with federal, state, county, local, and university law enforcement agencies in cooperative efforts to detect and prosecute incidents of fraud in student assistance programs.
    (e) The Administrative Review Law shall apply to and govern all proceedings for the judicial review of final administrative decisions of the Commission.
    (f) The Commission is authorized to make all necessary and proper rules, not inconsistent with this Act, for the efficient exercise of the foregoing functions.
    (g) Unless otherwise provided by statute, the functions of the Commission shall be exercised without regard to any applicant's race, creed, sex, color, national origin, or ancestry.
    (h) The Commission is authorized to establish systems and programs to encourage employers to match employee contributions to prepaid programs of college savings by making donations to the Commission for prepaid programs of college savings to make higher education affordable for all residents of the State and to receive, hold, and disburse all such funds made available through those programs for the purposes for which they are authorized by rule or by law.
(Source: P.A. 96‑198, eff. 8‑10‑09.)

    (110 ILCS 947/25)
    Sec. 25. State scholar program.
    (a) An applicant is eligible to be designated a State Scholar when the Commission finds the candidate:
        (1) is a resident of this State, including a
     resident attending a Department of Defense school, and a citizen or permanent resident of the United States;
        (2) has successfully completed the program of
     instruction at an approved high school, or is a student in good standing at such a school and is engaged in a program which in due course will be completed by the end of the academic year, and in either event that the candidate's academic standing is above the class median; and that the candidate has not had any university, college, normal school, private junior college or public community college, or other advanced training subsequent to graduation from high school; and
        (3) has superior capacity to profit by a higher
     education.
    (b) In determining an applicant's superior capacity to profit by a higher education, the Commission shall consider the candidate's scholastic record in high school and the results of the examination conducted under the provisions of this Act. The Commission shall establish by rule the minimum conditions of eligibility in terms of the foregoing factors, and the relative weight to be accorded to those factors.
    (c) The Commission shall base its State Scholar designations upon the eligibility formula prescribed in its rules, except that notwithstanding those rules or any other provision of this Section, a student nominated by his or her school shall be designated a State Scholar if that student achieves an Illinois Standard Test Score at or above the 95th percentile among students taking the designated examinations in Illinois that year, as determined by the Commission.
    (d) The Commission shall obtain the results of a competitive examination from the applicants. The examination shall provide a measure of each candidate's ability to perform college work and shall have demonstrated utility in such a selection program. The Commission shall select, and designate by rule, the specific examinations to be used in determining the applicant's superior capacity to profit from a higher education. Candidates may be asked by the Commission to take those steps necessary to provide results of the designated examination as part of their applications. Any nominal cost of obtaining or providing the examination results shall be paid by the candidate to the agency designated by the Commission to provide the examination service. In the event that a candidate or candidates are unable to participate in the examination for financial reasons, the Commission may choose to pay the examination fee on the candidate's or candidates' behalf. Any notary fee which may also be required as part of the total application shall be paid by the applicant.
    (e) The Commission shall award to each State Scholar a certificate or other suitable form of recognition. The decision to attend a non‑qualified institution of higher learning shall not disqualify applicants who are otherwise fully qualified.
    (f) Subject to appropriation, each State Scholar who enrolls or is enrolled in an institution of higher learning in this State shall also receive a one‑time grant of $1,000 to be applied to tuition and mandatory fees and paid directly to the institution of higher learning. However, a student who has been awarded a Merit Recognition Scholarship under Section 31 of this Act may not be awarded a grant under this subsection (f), although he or she may still be designated a State Scholar.
    (g) The Commission shall conduct a study detailing all of the following information:
        (1) The number of students designated State Scholars
     in 2008 and 2009.
        (2) The number of State Scholars who applied to State
     universities in 2008 and 2009.
        (3) The number of State Scholars who were denied
     admittance into the State universities to which they applied in 2008 and 2009.
    All data collected from a State university in regards to
     the study conducted under this subsection (g) must be verified by that university.
    On or before January 1, 2010, the Commission must submit
     a report to the General Assembly that contains the findings of the study conducted under this subsection (g) and the Commission's recommendations on how to make State universities more accessible to State Scholars.
    (h) The Commission shall adopt all necessary and proper rules not inconsistent with this Section for its effective implementation.
(Source: P.A. 95‑715, eff. 1‑1‑09; 95‑760, eff. 7‑28‑08; 96‑315, eff. 8‑11‑09; 96‑328, eff. 8‑11‑09.)

    (110 ILCS 947/30)
    Sec. 30. (Repealed).
(Source: P.A. 90‑372, eff. 7‑1‑98; 90‑728, eff. 1‑1‑99. Repealed by P.A. 91‑128, eff. 7‑1‑00.)

    (110 ILCS 947/31)
    Sec. 31. Merit Recognition Scholarship program.
    (a) As used in this Section:
    "Eligible applicant" means a student from any high school in this State, either approved by or not recognized by the State Board of Education, who is engaged in a program of study that in due course will be completed by the end of the academic year, and (i) whose cumulative high school grade point average is at or above the 95th percentile of his or her high school class after completion of the 6th semester of a high school program of instruction or (ii) whose score on a standardized examination determined by the Commission, taken before or during the 6th semester of high school, is at or above the 95th percentile of students in the State who take the standardized college entrance examination. These high school students are all eligible to receive a scholarship to be awarded under this Section.
    "Qualified student" means a person:
        (1) who is a resident of this State and a citizen or
     permanent resident of the United States;
        (2) who, as an eligible applicant, is in good
     academic standing at the high school in which he or she is enrolled and has made a timely application for a Merit Recognition Scholarship under this Section;
        (3) who has successfully completed the program of
     instruction at any high school located in this State; and
        (4) who enrolls or is enrolled in a qualified
     Illinois institution of higher learning or a Service Academy as an undergraduate student or cadet and has not received a baccalaureate degree.
    "Merit Recognition Scholarship" means a $1,000 academic scholarship awarded under this Section during an academic year to a qualified student, without regard to financial need, as a scholarship to any qualified Illinois institution of higher learning or a Service Academy in which the student is or will be enrolled as an undergraduate student or cadet.
    "Service Academy" means the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, the U.S. Military Academy, or the U.S. Naval Academy.
    (b) In order to identify, encourage, promote, and reward the distinguished academic achievement of students from every high school located in this State, each qualified student shall be awarded a Merit Recognition Scholarship by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission to any qualified Illinois institution of higher learning or to any Service Academy.
    (b‑5) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Section, a student who has received a grant under the State Scholar program under Section 25 of this Act is ineligible to receive a Merit Recognition Scholarship.
    (c) No Merit Recognition Scholarship provided for a qualified student under this Section shall be considered in evaluating the financial situation of that student or be deemed a financial resource of or a form of financial aid or assistance to that student, for purposes of determining the eligibility of the student for any scholarship, grant, or monetary assistance awarded by the Commission, the State, or any agency thereof pursuant to the provisions of any other Section of this Act or any other law of this State; nor shall any Merit Recognition Scholarship provided for a qualified student under this Section reduce the amount of any scholarship, grant, or monetary assistance that that student is eligible to be awarded by the Commission, the State, or any agency thereof in accordance with the provisions of any other Section of this Act or any other law of this State.
    (d) The Illinois Student Assistance Commission is designated as administrator of the Merit Recognition Scholarship program. Each high school located in this State shall certify to the Commission the names of its students who are eligible applicants, specifying which of the students certified as eligible applicants have completed the program of instruction at that high school and the graduation date fixed for their high school class and specifying for each of the other eligible applicants whose names appear on the certification the semester of high school last completed by them. The Commission shall promptly notify those eligible applicants so certified who are reasonably assured of receiving a Merit Recognition Scholarship in accordance with the annual funding levels recommended in the Governor's budget of their eligibility to apply for a scholarship under this Section, other than any eligible applicant named on any such certification who, as an eligible applicant, has previously made application to the Commission for a Merit Recognition Scholarship under this Section. An otherwise eligible applicant who fails to make a timely application (as determined by the Commission) for a Merit Recognition Scholarship under this Section shall no longer be deemed an eligible applicant and shall not qualify for the award.
    (e) All applications for Merit Recognition Scholarships to be awarded under this Section shall be made to the Commission on forms that the Commission shall provide for eligible applicants. The form of applications and the information required to be set forth therein shall be determined by the Commission, and the Commission shall require eligible applicants to submit with their applications such supporting documents as the Commission deems necessary.
    (f) The names and addresses of Merit Recognition Scholarship recipients are a matter of public record.
    (g) Whenever an eligible applicant who has completed the program of instruction at any high school located in this State thereafter makes timely application to the Commission for a Merit Recognition Scholarship under this Section, the Commission shall promptly determine whether that eligible applicant is a qualified student as defined in subsection (a) of this Section. Each such eligible applicant so determined by the Commission to be a qualified student shall be awarded a Merit Recognition Scholarship in the amount of $1,000, effective exclusively during the academic year following the qualified student's high school graduation, subject to appropriation by the General Assembly.
    (h) Subject to a separate appropriation for purposes of this Section, payment of any Merit Recognition Scholarship awarded under this Section shall be determined exclusively by the Commission. All scholarship funds distributed in accordance with this subsection (h) shall be paid to the qualified Illinois institution of higher learning or Service Academy and used only for payment of the educational expenses incurred by the student in connection with his or her attendance as an undergraduate student or cadet at that institution or Service Academy, including but not limited to tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, required Service Academy uniforms, and travel and personal expenses related to the student's attendance at that institution or Service Academy. Any Merit Recognition Scholarship awarded under this Section shall be applicable to 2 semesters or 3 quarters of enrollment. Should a qualified student withdraw from enrollment prior to completion of the first semester or quarter for which the Merit Recognition Scholarship is applicable, the student shall refund to the Commission the amount of the scholarship received.
    (i) The Commission shall administer the Merit Recognition Scholarship program established by this Section and shall make all necessary and proper rules, not inconsistent with this Section, for its effective implementation.
    (j) When an appropriation to the Commission for purposes of this Section is insufficient to provide scholarships to all qualified students, the Commission shall allocate the appropriation in accordance with this subsection (j). If funds are insufficient to provide all qualified students with a scholarship as authorized by subsection (g) of this Section, the Commission shall allocate the scholarships to qualified students in order of decreasing relative academic rank, as determined by the Commission using a formula based upon the qualified student's grade point average, score on the appropriate statewide standardized examination, or a combination of grade point average and standardized test score. All Merit Recognition Scholarships awarded shall be in the amount of $1,000.
    (k) The Commission, in determining the number of Merit Recognition Scholarships to be offered pursuant to subsection (j) of this Section, shall take into consideration past experience with the rate of merit scholarship funds unclaimed by qualified students. To the extent necessary to avoid an over‑commitment of funds, the Commission may allocate scholarship funds on the basis of the date the Commission receives a completed application form.
(Source: P.A. 95‑715, eff. 1‑1‑09.)

    (110 ILCS 947/35)
    Sec. 35. Monetary award program.
    (a) The Commission shall, each year, receive and consider applications for grant assistance under this Section. Subject to a separate appropriation for such purposes, an applicant is eligible for a grant under this Section when the Commission finds that the applicant:
        (1) is a resident of this State and a citizen or
     permanent resident of the United States; and
        (2) in the absence of grant assistance, will be
     deterred by financial considerations from completing an educational program at the qualified institution of his or her choice.
    (b) The Commission shall award renewals only upon the student's application and upon the Commission's finding that the applicant:
        (1) has remained a student in good standing;
        (2) remains a resident of this State; and
        (3) is in a financial situation that continues to
     warrant assistance.
    (c) All grants shall be applicable only to tuition and necessary fee costs. The Commission shall determine the grant amount for each student, which shall not exceed the smallest of the following amounts:
        (1) subject to appropriation, $5,468 for fiscal year
     2009, $5,968 for fiscal year 2010, and $6,468 for fiscal year 2011 and each fiscal year thereafter, or such lesser amount as the Commission finds to be available, during an academic year;
        (2) the amount which equals 2 semesters or 3
     quarters tuition and other necessary fees required generally by the institution of all full‑time undergraduate students; or
        (3) such amount as the Commission finds to be
     appropriate in view of the applicant's financial resources.
    Subject to appropriation, the maximum grant amount for students not subject to subdivision (1) of this subsection (c) must be increased by the same percentage as any increase made by law to the maximum grant amount under subdivision (1) of this subsection (c).
    "Tuition and other necessary fees" as used in this Section include the customary charge for instruction and use of facilities in general, and the additional fixed fees charged for specified purposes, which are required generally of nongrant recipients for each academic period for which the grant applicant actually enrolls, but do not include fees payable only once or breakage fees and other contingent deposits which are refundable in whole or in part. The Commission may prescribe, by rule not inconsistent with this Section, detailed provisions concerning the computation of tuition and other necessary fees.
    (d) No applicant, including those presently receiving scholarship assistance under this Act, is eligible for monetary award program consideration under this Act after receiving a baccalaureate degree or the equivalent of 135 semester credit hours of award payments.
    (e) The Commission, in determining the number of grants to be offered, shall take into consideration past experience with the rate of grant funds unclaimed by recipients. The Commission shall notify applicants that grant assistance is contingent upon the availability of appropriated funds.
    (f) The Commission may request appropriations for deposit into the Monetary Award Program Reserve Fund. Monies deposited into the Monetary Award Program Reserve Fund may be expended exclusively for one purpose: to make Monetary Award Program grants to eligible students. Amounts on deposit in the Monetary Award Program Reserve Fund may not exceed 2% of the current annual State appropriation for the Monetary Award Program.
    The purpose of the Monetary Award Program Reserve Fund is to enable the Commission each year to assure as many students as possible of their eligibility for a Monetary Award Program grant and to do so before commencement of the academic year. Moneys deposited in this Reserve Fund are intended to enhance the Commission's management of the Monetary Award Program, minimizing the necessity, magnitude, and frequency of adjusting award amounts and ensuring that the annual Monetary Award Program appropriation can be fully utilized.
    (g) The Commission shall determine the eligibility of and make grants to applicants enrolled at qualified for‑profit institutions in accordance with the criteria set forth in this Section. The eligibility of applicants enrolled at such for‑profit institutions shall be limited as follows:
        (1) Beginning with the academic year 1997, only to
     eligible first‑time freshmen and first‑time transfer students who have attained an associate degree.
        (2) Beginning with the academic year 1998, only to
     eligible freshmen students, transfer students who have attained an associate degree, and students who receive a grant under paragraph (1) for the academic year 1997 and whose grants are being renewed for the academic year 1998.
        (3) Beginning with the academic year 1999, to all
     eligible students.
(Source: P.A. 95‑917, eff. 8‑26‑08.)

    (110 ILCS 947/36)<

State Codes and Statutes

Statutes > Illinois > Chapter110 > 1161

    (110 ILCS 947/1)
    Sec. 1. Short title. This Act may be cited as the Higher Education Student Assistance Act.
(Source: P.A. 87‑997.)

    (110 ILCS 947/5)
    Sec. 5. Purpose. The General Assembly finds and declares that (1) the provision of a higher education for all residents of this State who desire a higher education and are properly qualified therefor is important to the welfare and security of this State and Nation and, consequently, is an important public purpose, and (2) many qualified students are deterred by financial considerations from completing their education, with a consequent irreparable loss to the State and Nation of talents vital to welfare and security. The number of qualified persons who desire a higher education is increasing rapidly, and the physical facilities, faculties, and staffs of the institutions of higher learning operated by, within and for the residents of the State will have to be expanded greatly to accommodate those persons, with an attendant sharp increase in the cost of educating them. A system of financial assistance of scholarships, grants, and loans for qualified residents of college age will enable them to attend qualified institutions of their choice in the State, public or private. The adoption of new federal student loan legislation necessitates that the State update and broaden its system of financial student assistance.
    As market conditions permit, the Commission is specifically encouraged to offer reasonable and affordable supplemental or alternative educational loans to students who seek to obtain these loans. As part of these alternative or supplemental direct lending initiatives, the Commission may give priority consideration to students assisted by the Commission's need‑based programs.
    The system of financial assistance provided under this Act includes prepaid programs for college savings, and the Commission is specifically encouraged to enlist employers in providing voluntary matching donations to the amount that their employees save through these prepaid programs.
(Source: P.A. 96‑198, eff. 8‑10‑09.)

    (110 ILCS 947/10)
    Sec. 10. Definitions. In this Act, and except to the extent that any of the following words or phrases is specifically qualified by its context:
    "Commission" means the Illinois Student Assistance Commission created by this Act.
    "Enrollment" means the establishment and maintenance of an individual's status as a student in an institution of higher learning, regardless of the terms used at the institution to describe that status.
    "Approved high school" means any public high school located in this State; and any high school, located in this State or elsewhere (whether designated as a high school, secondary school, academy, preparatory school, or otherwise) which in the judgment of the State Superintendent of Education provides a course of instruction at the secondary level and maintains standards of instruction substantially equivalent to those of the public high schools located in this State.
    "Institution of higher learning", "qualified institution", or "institution" means an educational organization located in this State which
        (1) provides at least an organized 2 year program of
     collegiate grade in the liberal arts or sciences, or both, directly applicable toward the attainment of a baccalaureate degree or a program in health education directly applicable toward the attainment of a certificate, diploma, or an associate degree;
        (2) either is
            (A) operated by this State, or
            (B) operated publicly or privately, not for
         profit, or
            (C) operated for profit, provided such for
         profit organization
                (i) offers degree programs which have been
             approved by the Board of Higher Education for a minimum of 3 years under the Academic Degree Act, and
                (ii) enrolls a majority of its students in
             such degree programs, and
                (iii) maintains an accredited status with
             the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools;
        (3) in the judgment of the Commission meets
     standards substantially equivalent to those of comparable institutions operated by this State; and
        (4) if so required by the Commission, uses the State
     as its primary guarantor of student loans made under the federal Higher Education Act of 1965.
For otherwise eligible educational organizations which provide academic programs for incarcerated students, the terms "institution of higher learning", "qualified institutions", and "institution" shall specifically exclude academic programs for incarcerated students.
    "Academic Year" means a 12 month period of time, normally but not exclusively, from September 1 of any year through August 31 of the ensuing year.
    "Full‑time student" means any undergraduate student enrolled in 12 or more semester or quarter hours of credit courses in any given semester or quarter or in the equivalent number of units of registration as determined by the Commission.
    "Part‑time student" means any undergraduate student, other than a full‑time student, enrolled in 6 or more semester or quarter hours of credit courses in any given semester or quarter or in the equivalent number of units of registration as determined by the Commission. Beginning with fiscal year 1999, the Commission may, on a program by program basis, expand this definition of "part‑time student" to include students who enroll in less than 6 semester or quarter hours of credit courses in any given semester or quarter.
(Source: P.A. 90‑122, eff. 7‑17‑97; 91‑250, eff. 7‑22‑99.)

    (110 ILCS 947/15)
    Sec. 15. Illinois Student Assistance Commission.
    (a) There is established the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, consisting of 10 persons to be appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate. The membership of the Commission shall consist of one representative of the institutions of higher learning operated by the State; one representative of the private institutions of higher learning located in the State; one representative of the public community colleges located in the State; one representative of the public high schools located in the State; 5 citizens of the State chosen for their knowledge of and interest in higher education, but not employed by, professionally affiliated with, or members of the governing boards of any institution of higher learning located in the State, and one student member selected from nominations submitted to the Governor by multi‑campus student organizations, including but not limited to, the Illinois Student Association, the Organization of Community College Students, the recognized advisory committee of students of the Board of Higher Education, and the recognized advisory committee of students of the Federation of Independent Illinois Colleges and Universities. The Governor shall designate one member, other than the student member, as chairman. Each member of the Commission, including the student member, shall serve without compensation, but shall be reimbursed for expenses necessarily incurred in performing his or her duties under this Act. Subject to a requirement that Commission members in office on the effective date of this amendatory Act of 1995 may serve the full term to which they were appointed, the appointment of Commission members to terms that commence on or after that effective date shall be made in a manner that gives effect at the earliest possible time to the change that is required by this amendatory Act in the representative composition of the Commission's membership.
    (b) The term of office of each member, other than the student member, is 6 years from July 1 of the year of appointment, and until his successor is appointed and qualified. If a member's tenure of office, other than that of the student member, is terminated for any reason before his or her term has expired, the Governor shall fill the vacancy by the appointment of a person who has the same representative status as the person whose term has been so terminated, and the new appointee shall hold office only for the remainder of that term and until a successor is appointed and qualified. The term of the student member shall be for 2 years from July 1 of each odd‑numbered year. If the tenure of the student member is terminated for any reason, the vacancy shall be filled in the same manner as heretofore provided for a regular term of office appointment of the student member. The new student appointee shall hold office only for the remainder of that term. No student member may receive a scholarship or grant pursuant to this Act during his or her term of office with the Commission.
    (c) In accordance with the provisions of the State Universities Civil Service Act, the Commission shall employ a professionally qualified person as the Executive Director of the Commission, and such other employees as may be necessary to effectuate the purposes of this Act.
    (d) The Commission shall meet at least once in each fiscal year, and may meet at other times which the Chairman may designate by giving at least 10 days' written notice to each member.
(Source: P.A. 89‑419, eff. 6‑1‑96.)

    (110 ILCS 947/20)
    Sec. 20. Functions of Commission.
    (a) The Commission, in accordance with this Act, shall prepare and supervise the issuance of public information concerning its provisions; prescribe the form and regulate the submission of applications for assistance; provide for and conduct, or cause to be conducted, all eligibility determinations of applicants; award the appropriate financial assistance; and, upon request by a member of the General Assembly, nominate or evaluate and recommend for nomination applicants for General Assembly scholarships in accordance with criteria specified by the member under Section 30‑9 of the School Code.
    (b) The Commission is authorized to participate in any programs for monetary assistance to students and to receive, hold, and disburse all such funds made available by any agency or organization for the purpose or purposes for which they are made available. The Commission is authorized to administer a program of grant assistance as authorized by the Baccalaureate Savings Act. The Commission is authorized to participate in any programs established to improve student financial aid services or the proficiency of persons engaged in student financial aid services and to receive, hold, and disburse all funds made available by any agency or organization for the purpose or purposes for which they are made available subject to the appropriations of the General Assembly.
    (c) The Commission is authorized to deny a scholarship or a grant to any person who has defaulted on a guaranteed student loan and who is not maintaining a satisfactory repayment record. If a person has a defaulted guaranteed student loan but is otherwise eligible for assistance pursuant to Section 40, the Commission shall award one term of assistance during which a satisfactory repayment record must be established. If such a repayment record is not established, additional assistance shall be denied until a satisfactory repayment record is established.
    (d) The Commission is authorized to participate with federal, state, county, local, and university law enforcement agencies in cooperative efforts to detect and prosecute incidents of fraud in student assistance programs.
    (e) The Administrative Review Law shall apply to and govern all proceedings for the judicial review of final administrative decisions of the Commission.
    (f) The Commission is authorized to make all necessary and proper rules, not inconsistent with this Act, for the efficient exercise of the foregoing functions.
    (g) Unless otherwise provided by statute, the functions of the Commission shall be exercised without regard to any applicant's race, creed, sex, color, national origin, or ancestry.
    (h) The Commission is authorized to establish systems and programs to encourage employers to match employee contributions to prepaid programs of college savings by making donations to the Commission for prepaid programs of college savings to make higher education affordable for all residents of the State and to receive, hold, and disburse all such funds made available through those programs for the purposes for which they are authorized by rule or by law.
(Source: P.A. 96‑198, eff. 8‑10‑09.)

    (110 ILCS 947/25)
    Sec. 25. State scholar program.
    (a) An applicant is eligible to be designated a State Scholar when the Commission finds the candidate:
        (1) is a resident of this State, including a
     resident attending a Department of Defense school, and a citizen or permanent resident of the United States;
        (2) has successfully completed the program of
     instruction at an approved high school, or is a student in good standing at such a school and is engaged in a program which in due course will be completed by the end of the academic year, and in either event that the candidate's academic standing is above the class median; and that the candidate has not had any university, college, normal school, private junior college or public community college, or other advanced training subsequent to graduation from high school; and
        (3) has superior capacity to profit by a higher
     education.
    (b) In determining an applicant's superior capacity to profit by a higher education, the Commission shall consider the candidate's scholastic record in high school and the results of the examination conducted under the provisions of this Act. The Commission shall establish by rule the minimum conditions of eligibility in terms of the foregoing factors, and the relative weight to be accorded to those factors.
    (c) The Commission shall base its State Scholar designations upon the eligibility formula prescribed in its rules, except that notwithstanding those rules or any other provision of this Section, a student nominated by his or her school shall be designated a State Scholar if that student achieves an Illinois Standard Test Score at or above the 95th percentile among students taking the designated examinations in Illinois that year, as determined by the Commission.
    (d) The Commission shall obtain the results of a competitive examination from the applicants. The examination shall provide a measure of each candidate's ability to perform college work and shall have demonstrated utility in such a selection program. The Commission shall select, and designate by rule, the specific examinations to be used in determining the applicant's superior capacity to profit from a higher education. Candidates may be asked by the Commission to take those steps necessary to provide results of the designated examination as part of their applications. Any nominal cost of obtaining or providing the examination results shall be paid by the candidate to the agency designated by the Commission to provide the examination service. In the event that a candidate or candidates are unable to participate in the examination for financial reasons, the Commission may choose to pay the examination fee on the candidate's or candidates' behalf. Any notary fee which may also be required as part of the total application shall be paid by the applicant.
    (e) The Commission shall award to each State Scholar a certificate or other suitable form of recognition. The decision to attend a non‑qualified institution of higher learning shall not disqualify applicants who are otherwise fully qualified.
    (f) Subject to appropriation, each State Scholar who enrolls or is enrolled in an institution of higher learning in this State shall also receive a one‑time grant of $1,000 to be applied to tuition and mandatory fees and paid directly to the institution of higher learning. However, a student who has been awarded a Merit Recognition Scholarship under Section 31 of this Act may not be awarded a grant under this subsection (f), although he or she may still be designated a State Scholar.
    (g) The Commission shall conduct a study detailing all of the following information:
        (1) The number of students designated State Scholars
     in 2008 and 2009.
        (2) The number of State Scholars who applied to State
     universities in 2008 and 2009.
        (3) The number of State Scholars who were denied
     admittance into the State universities to which they applied in 2008 and 2009.
    All data collected from a State university in regards to
     the study conducted under this subsection (g) must be verified by that university.
    On or before January 1, 2010, the Commission must submit
     a report to the General Assembly that contains the findings of the study conducted under this subsection (g) and the Commission's recommendations on how to make State universities more accessible to State Scholars.
    (h) The Commission shall adopt all necessary and proper rules not inconsistent with this Section for its effective implementation.
(Source: P.A. 95‑715, eff. 1‑1‑09; 95‑760, eff. 7‑28‑08; 96‑315, eff. 8‑11‑09; 96‑328, eff. 8‑11‑09.)

    (110 ILCS 947/30)
    Sec. 30. (Repealed).
(Source: P.A. 90‑372, eff. 7‑1‑98; 90‑728, eff. 1‑1‑99. Repealed by P.A. 91‑128, eff. 7‑1‑00.)

    (110 ILCS 947/31)
    Sec. 31. Merit Recognition Scholarship program.
    (a) As used in this Section:
    "Eligible applicant" means a student from any high school in this State, either approved by or not recognized by the State Board of Education, who is engaged in a program of study that in due course will be completed by the end of the academic year, and (i) whose cumulative high school grade point average is at or above the 95th percentile of his or her high school class after completion of the 6th semester of a high school program of instruction or (ii) whose score on a standardized examination determined by the Commission, taken before or during the 6th semester of high school, is at or above the 95th percentile of students in the State who take the standardized college entrance examination. These high school students are all eligible to receive a scholarship to be awarded under this Section.
    "Qualified student" means a person:
        (1) who is a resident of this State and a citizen or
     permanent resident of the United States;
        (2) who, as an eligible applicant, is in good
     academic standing at the high school in which he or she is enrolled and has made a timely application for a Merit Recognition Scholarship under this Section;
        (3) who has successfully completed the program of
     instruction at any high school located in this State; and
        (4) who enrolls or is enrolled in a qualified
     Illinois institution of higher learning or a Service Academy as an undergraduate student or cadet and has not received a baccalaureate degree.
    "Merit Recognition Scholarship" means a $1,000 academic scholarship awarded under this Section during an academic year to a qualified student, without regard to financial need, as a scholarship to any qualified Illinois institution of higher learning or a Service Academy in which the student is or will be enrolled as an undergraduate student or cadet.
    "Service Academy" means the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, the U.S. Military Academy, or the U.S. Naval Academy.
    (b) In order to identify, encourage, promote, and reward the distinguished academic achievement of students from every high school located in this State, each qualified student shall be awarded a Merit Recognition Scholarship by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission to any qualified Illinois institution of higher learning or to any Service Academy.
    (b‑5) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Section, a student who has received a grant under the State Scholar program under Section 25 of this Act is ineligible to receive a Merit Recognition Scholarship.
    (c) No Merit Recognition Scholarship provided for a qualified student under this Section shall be considered in evaluating the financial situation of that student or be deemed a financial resource of or a form of financial aid or assistance to that student, for purposes of determining the eligibility of the student for any scholarship, grant, or monetary assistance awarded by the Commission, the State, or any agency thereof pursuant to the provisions of any other Section of this Act or any other law of this State; nor shall any Merit Recognition Scholarship provided for a qualified student under this Section reduce the amount of any scholarship, grant, or monetary assistance that that student is eligible to be awarded by the Commission, the State, or any agency thereof in accordance with the provisions of any other Section of this Act or any other law of this State.
    (d) The Illinois Student Assistance Commission is designated as administrator of the Merit Recognition Scholarship program. Each high school located in this State shall certify to the Commission the names of its students who are eligible applicants, specifying which of the students certified as eligible applicants have completed the program of instruction at that high school and the graduation date fixed for their high school class and specifying for each of the other eligible applicants whose names appear on the certification the semester of high school last completed by them. The Commission shall promptly notify those eligible applicants so certified who are reasonably assured of receiving a Merit Recognition Scholarship in accordance with the annual funding levels recommended in the Governor's budget of their eligibility to apply for a scholarship under this Section, other than any eligible applicant named on any such certification who, as an eligible applicant, has previously made application to the Commission for a Merit Recognition Scholarship under this Section. An otherwise eligible applicant who fails to make a timely application (as determined by the Commission) for a Merit Recognition Scholarship under this Section shall no longer be deemed an eligible applicant and shall not qualify for the award.
    (e) All applications for Merit Recognition Scholarships to be awarded under this Section shall be made to the Commission on forms that the Commission shall provide for eligible applicants. The form of applications and the information required to be set forth therein shall be determined by the Commission, and the Commission shall require eligible applicants to submit with their applications such supporting documents as the Commission deems necessary.
    (f) The names and addresses of Merit Recognition Scholarship recipients are a matter of public record.
    (g) Whenever an eligible applicant who has completed the program of instruction at any high school located in this State thereafter makes timely application to the Commission for a Merit Recognition Scholarship under this Section, the Commission shall promptly determine whether that eligible applicant is a qualified student as defined in subsection (a) of this Section. Each such eligible applicant so determined by the Commission to be a qualified student shall be awarded a Merit Recognition Scholarship in the amount of $1,000, effective exclusively during the academic year following the qualified student's high school graduation, subject to appropriation by the General Assembly.
    (h) Subject to a separate appropriation for purposes of this Section, payment of any Merit Recognition Scholarship awarded under this Section shall be determined exclusively by the Commission. All scholarship funds distributed in accordance with this subsection (h) shall be paid to the qualified Illinois institution of higher learning or Service Academy and used only for payment of the educational expenses incurred by the student in connection with his or her attendance as an undergraduate student or cadet at that institution or Service Academy, including but not limited to tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, required Service Academy uniforms, and travel and personal expenses related to the student's attendance at that institution or Service Academy. Any Merit Recognition Scholarship awarded under this Section shall be applicable to 2 semesters or 3 quarters of enrollment. Should a qualified student withdraw from enrollment prior to completion of the first semester or quarter for which the Merit Recognition Scholarship is applicable, the student shall refund to the Commission the amount of the scholarship received.
    (i) The Commission shall administer the Merit Recognition Scholarship program established by this Section and shall make all necessary and proper rules, not inconsistent with this Section, for its effective implementation.
    (j) When an appropriation to the Commission for purposes of this Section is insufficient to provide scholarships to all qualified students, the Commission shall allocate the appropriation in accordance with this subsection (j). If funds are insufficient to provide all qualified students with a scholarship as authorized by subsection (g) of this Section, the Commission shall allocate the scholarships to qualified students in order of decreasing relative academic rank, as determined by the Commission using a formula based upon the qualified student's grade point average, score on the appropriate statewide standardized examination, or a combination of grade point average and standardized test score. All Merit Recognition Scholarships awarded shall be in the amount of $1,000.
    (k) The Commission, in determining the number of Merit Recognition Scholarships to be offered pursuant to subsection (j) of this Section, shall take into consideration past experience with the rate of merit scholarship funds unclaimed by qualified students. To the extent necessary to avoid an over‑commitment of funds, the Commission may allocate scholarship funds on the basis of the date the Commission receives a completed application form.
(Source: P.A. 95‑715, eff. 1‑1‑09.)

    (110 ILCS 947/35)
    Sec. 35. Monetary award program.
    (a) The Commission shall, each year, receive and consider applications for grant assistance under this Section. Subject to a separate appropriation for such purposes, an applicant is eligible for a grant under this Section when the Commission finds that the applicant:
        (1) is a resident of this State and a citizen or
     permanent resident of the United States; and
        (2) in the absence of grant assistance, will be
     deterred by financial considerations from completing an educational program at the qualified institution of his or her choice.
    (b) The Commission shall award renewals only upon the student's application and upon the Commission's finding that the applicant:
        (1) has remained a student in good standing;
        (2) remains a resident of this State; and
        (3) is in a financial situation that continues to
     warrant assistance.
    (c) All grants shall be applicable only to tuition and necessary fee costs. The Commission shall determine the grant amount for each student, which shall not exceed the smallest of the following amounts:
        (1) subject to appropriation, $5,468 for fiscal year
     2009, $5,968 for fiscal year 2010, and $6,468 for fiscal year 2011 and each fiscal year thereafter, or such lesser amount as the Commission finds to be available, during an academic year;
        (2) the amount which equals 2 semesters or 3
     quarters tuition and other necessary fees required generally by the institution of all full‑time undergraduate students; or
        (3) such amount as the Commission finds to be
     appropriate in view of the applicant's financial resources.
    Subject to appropriation, the maximum grant amount for students not subject to subdivision (1) of this subsection (c) must be increased by the same percentage as any increase made by law to the maximum grant amount under subdivision (1) of this subsection (c).
    "Tuition and other necessary fees" as used in this Section include the customary charge for instruction and use of facilities in general, and the additional fixed fees charged for specified purposes, which are required generally of nongrant recipients for each academic period for which the grant applicant actually enrolls, but do not include fees payable only once or breakage fees and other contingent deposits which are refundable in whole or in part. The Commission may prescribe, by rule not inconsistent with this Section, detailed provisions concerning the computation of tuition and other necessary fees.
    (d) No applicant, including those presently receiving scholarship assistance under this Act, is eligible for monetary award program consideration under this Act after receiving a baccalaureate degree or the equivalent of 135 semester credit hours of award payments.
    (e) The Commission, in determining the number of grants to be offered, shall take into consideration past experience with the rate of grant funds unclaimed by recipients. The Commission shall notify applicants that grant assistance is contingent upon the availability of appropriated funds.
    (f) The Commission may request appropriations for deposit into the Monetary Award Program Reserve Fund. Monies deposited into the Monetary Award Program Reserve Fund may be expended exclusively for one purpose: to make Monetary Award Program grants to eligible students. Amounts on deposit in the Monetary Award Program Reserve Fund may not exceed 2% of the current annual State appropriation for the Monetary Award Program.
    The purpose of the Monetary Award Program Reserve Fund is to enable the Commission each year to assure as many students as possible of their eligibility for a Monetary Award Program grant and to do so before commencement of the academic year. Moneys deposited in this Reserve Fund are intended to enhance the Commission's management of the Monetary Award Program, minimizing the necessity, magnitude, and frequency of adjusting award amounts and ensuring that the annual Monetary Award Program appropriation can be fully utilized.
    (g) The Commission shall determine the eligibility of and make grants to applicants enrolled at qualified for‑profit institutions in accordance with the criteria set forth in this Section. The eligibility of applicants enrolled at such for‑profit institutions shall be limited as follows:
        (1) Beginning with the academic year 1997, only to
     eligible first‑time freshmen and first‑time transfer students who have attained an associate degree.
        (2) Beginning with the academic year 1998, only to
     eligible freshmen students, transfer students who have attained an associate degree, and students who receive a grant under paragraph (1) for the academic year 1997 and whose grants are being renewed for the academic year 1998.
        (3) Beginning with the academic year 1999, to all
     eligible students.
(Source: P.A. 95‑917, eff. 8‑26‑08.)

    (110 ILCS 947/36)<

State Codes and Statutes

State Codes and Statutes

Statutes > Illinois > Chapter110 > 1161

    (110 ILCS 947/1)
    Sec. 1. Short title. This Act may be cited as the Higher Education Student Assistance Act.
(Source: P.A. 87‑997.)

    (110 ILCS 947/5)
    Sec. 5. Purpose. The General Assembly finds and declares that (1) the provision of a higher education for all residents of this State who desire a higher education and are properly qualified therefor is important to the welfare and security of this State and Nation and, consequently, is an important public purpose, and (2) many qualified students are deterred by financial considerations from completing their education, with a consequent irreparable loss to the State and Nation of talents vital to welfare and security. The number of qualified persons who desire a higher education is increasing rapidly, and the physical facilities, faculties, and staffs of the institutions of higher learning operated by, within and for the residents of the State will have to be expanded greatly to accommodate those persons, with an attendant sharp increase in the cost of educating them. A system of financial assistance of scholarships, grants, and loans for qualified residents of college age will enable them to attend qualified institutions of their choice in the State, public or private. The adoption of new federal student loan legislation necessitates that the State update and broaden its system of financial student assistance.
    As market conditions permit, the Commission is specifically encouraged to offer reasonable and affordable supplemental or alternative educational loans to students who seek to obtain these loans. As part of these alternative or supplemental direct lending initiatives, the Commission may give priority consideration to students assisted by the Commission's need‑based programs.
    The system of financial assistance provided under this Act includes prepaid programs for college savings, and the Commission is specifically encouraged to enlist employers in providing voluntary matching donations to the amount that their employees save through these prepaid programs.
(Source: P.A. 96‑198, eff. 8‑10‑09.)

    (110 ILCS 947/10)
    Sec. 10. Definitions. In this Act, and except to the extent that any of the following words or phrases is specifically qualified by its context:
    "Commission" means the Illinois Student Assistance Commission created by this Act.
    "Enrollment" means the establishment and maintenance of an individual's status as a student in an institution of higher learning, regardless of the terms used at the institution to describe that status.
    "Approved high school" means any public high school located in this State; and any high school, located in this State or elsewhere (whether designated as a high school, secondary school, academy, preparatory school, or otherwise) which in the judgment of the State Superintendent of Education provides a course of instruction at the secondary level and maintains standards of instruction substantially equivalent to those of the public high schools located in this State.
    "Institution of higher learning", "qualified institution", or "institution" means an educational organization located in this State which
        (1) provides at least an organized 2 year program of
     collegiate grade in the liberal arts or sciences, or both, directly applicable toward the attainment of a baccalaureate degree or a program in health education directly applicable toward the attainment of a certificate, diploma, or an associate degree;
        (2) either is
            (A) operated by this State, or
            (B) operated publicly or privately, not for
         profit, or
            (C) operated for profit, provided such for
         profit organization
                (i) offers degree programs which have been
             approved by the Board of Higher Education for a minimum of 3 years under the Academic Degree Act, and
                (ii) enrolls a majority of its students in
             such degree programs, and
                (iii) maintains an accredited status with
             the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools;
        (3) in the judgment of the Commission meets
     standards substantially equivalent to those of comparable institutions operated by this State; and
        (4) if so required by the Commission, uses the State
     as its primary guarantor of student loans made under the federal Higher Education Act of 1965.
For otherwise eligible educational organizations which provide academic programs for incarcerated students, the terms "institution of higher learning", "qualified institutions", and "institution" shall specifically exclude academic programs for incarcerated students.
    "Academic Year" means a 12 month period of time, normally but not exclusively, from September 1 of any year through August 31 of the ensuing year.
    "Full‑time student" means any undergraduate student enrolled in 12 or more semester or quarter hours of credit courses in any given semester or quarter or in the equivalent number of units of registration as determined by the Commission.
    "Part‑time student" means any undergraduate student, other than a full‑time student, enrolled in 6 or more semester or quarter hours of credit courses in any given semester or quarter or in the equivalent number of units of registration as determined by the Commission. Beginning with fiscal year 1999, the Commission may, on a program by program basis, expand this definition of "part‑time student" to include students who enroll in less than 6 semester or quarter hours of credit courses in any given semester or quarter.
(Source: P.A. 90‑122, eff. 7‑17‑97; 91‑250, eff. 7‑22‑99.)

    (110 ILCS 947/15)
    Sec. 15. Illinois Student Assistance Commission.
    (a) There is established the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, consisting of 10 persons to be appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate. The membership of the Commission shall consist of one representative of the institutions of higher learning operated by the State; one representative of the private institutions of higher learning located in the State; one representative of the public community colleges located in the State; one representative of the public high schools located in the State; 5 citizens of the State chosen for their knowledge of and interest in higher education, but not employed by, professionally affiliated with, or members of the governing boards of any institution of higher learning located in the State, and one student member selected from nominations submitted to the Governor by multi‑campus student organizations, including but not limited to, the Illinois Student Association, the Organization of Community College Students, the recognized advisory committee of students of the Board of Higher Education, and the recognized advisory committee of students of the Federation of Independent Illinois Colleges and Universities. The Governor shall designate one member, other than the student member, as chairman. Each member of the Commission, including the student member, shall serve without compensation, but shall be reimbursed for expenses necessarily incurred in performing his or her duties under this Act. Subject to a requirement that Commission members in office on the effective date of this amendatory Act of 1995 may serve the full term to which they were appointed, the appointment of Commission members to terms that commence on or after that effective date shall be made in a manner that gives effect at the earliest possible time to the change that is required by this amendatory Act in the representative composition of the Commission's membership.
    (b) The term of office of each member, other than the student member, is 6 years from July 1 of the year of appointment, and until his successor is appointed and qualified. If a member's tenure of office, other than that of the student member, is terminated for any reason before his or her term has expired, the Governor shall fill the vacancy by the appointment of a person who has the same representative status as the person whose term has been so terminated, and the new appointee shall hold office only for the remainder of that term and until a successor is appointed and qualified. The term of the student member shall be for 2 years from July 1 of each odd‑numbered year. If the tenure of the student member is terminated for any reason, the vacancy shall be filled in the same manner as heretofore provided for a regular term of office appointment of the student member. The new student appointee shall hold office only for the remainder of that term. No student member may receive a scholarship or grant pursuant to this Act during his or her term of office with the Commission.
    (c) In accordance with the provisions of the State Universities Civil Service Act, the Commission shall employ a professionally qualified person as the Executive Director of the Commission, and such other employees as may be necessary to effectuate the purposes of this Act.
    (d) The Commission shall meet at least once in each fiscal year, and may meet at other times which the Chairman may designate by giving at least 10 days' written notice to each member.
(Source: P.A. 89‑419, eff. 6‑1‑96.)

    (110 ILCS 947/20)
    Sec. 20. Functions of Commission.
    (a) The Commission, in accordance with this Act, shall prepare and supervise the issuance of public information concerning its provisions; prescribe the form and regulate the submission of applications for assistance; provide for and conduct, or cause to be conducted, all eligibility determinations of applicants; award the appropriate financial assistance; and, upon request by a member of the General Assembly, nominate or evaluate and recommend for nomination applicants for General Assembly scholarships in accordance with criteria specified by the member under Section 30‑9 of the School Code.
    (b) The Commission is authorized to participate in any programs for monetary assistance to students and to receive, hold, and disburse all such funds made available by any agency or organization for the purpose or purposes for which they are made available. The Commission is authorized to administer a program of grant assistance as authorized by the Baccalaureate Savings Act. The Commission is authorized to participate in any programs established to improve student financial aid services or the proficiency of persons engaged in student financial aid services and to receive, hold, and disburse all funds made available by any agency or organization for the purpose or purposes for which they are made available subject to the appropriations of the General Assembly.
    (c) The Commission is authorized to deny a scholarship or a grant to any person who has defaulted on a guaranteed student loan and who is not maintaining a satisfactory repayment record. If a person has a defaulted guaranteed student loan but is otherwise eligible for assistance pursuant to Section 40, the Commission shall award one term of assistance during which a satisfactory repayment record must be established. If such a repayment record is not established, additional assistance shall be denied until a satisfactory repayment record is established.
    (d) The Commission is authorized to participate with federal, state, county, local, and university law enforcement agencies in cooperative efforts to detect and prosecute incidents of fraud in student assistance programs.
    (e) The Administrative Review Law shall apply to and govern all proceedings for the judicial review of final administrative decisions of the Commission.
    (f) The Commission is authorized to make all necessary and proper rules, not inconsistent with this Act, for the efficient exercise of the foregoing functions.
    (g) Unless otherwise provided by statute, the functions of the Commission shall be exercised without regard to any applicant's race, creed, sex, color, national origin, or ancestry.
    (h) The Commission is authorized to establish systems and programs to encourage employers to match employee contributions to prepaid programs of college savings by making donations to the Commission for prepaid programs of college savings to make higher education affordable for all residents of the State and to receive, hold, and disburse all such funds made available through those programs for the purposes for which they are authorized by rule or by law.
(Source: P.A. 96‑198, eff. 8‑10‑09.)

    (110 ILCS 947/25)
    Sec. 25. State scholar program.
    (a) An applicant is eligible to be designated a State Scholar when the Commission finds the candidate:
        (1) is a resident of this State, including a
     resident attending a Department of Defense school, and a citizen or permanent resident of the United States;
        (2) has successfully completed the program of
     instruction at an approved high school, or is a student in good standing at such a school and is engaged in a program which in due course will be completed by the end of the academic year, and in either event that the candidate's academic standing is above the class median; and that the candidate has not had any university, college, normal school, private junior college or public community college, or other advanced training subsequent to graduation from high school; and
        (3) has superior capacity to profit by a higher
     education.
    (b) In determining an applicant's superior capacity to profit by a higher education, the Commission shall consider the candidate's scholastic record in high school and the results of the examination conducted under the provisions of this Act. The Commission shall establish by rule the minimum conditions of eligibility in terms of the foregoing factors, and the relative weight to be accorded to those factors.
    (c) The Commission shall base its State Scholar designations upon the eligibility formula prescribed in its rules, except that notwithstanding those rules or any other provision of this Section, a student nominated by his or her school shall be designated a State Scholar if that student achieves an Illinois Standard Test Score at or above the 95th percentile among students taking the designated examinations in Illinois that year, as determined by the Commission.
    (d) The Commission shall obtain the results of a competitive examination from the applicants. The examination shall provide a measure of each candidate's ability to perform college work and shall have demonstrated utility in such a selection program. The Commission shall select, and designate by rule, the specific examinations to be used in determining the applicant's superior capacity to profit from a higher education. Candidates may be asked by the Commission to take those steps necessary to provide results of the designated examination as part of their applications. Any nominal cost of obtaining or providing the examination results shall be paid by the candidate to the agency designated by the Commission to provide the examination service. In the event that a candidate or candidates are unable to participate in the examination for financial reasons, the Commission may choose to pay the examination fee on the candidate's or candidates' behalf. Any notary fee which may also be required as part of the total application shall be paid by the applicant.
    (e) The Commission shall award to each State Scholar a certificate or other suitable form of recognition. The decision to attend a non‑qualified institution of higher learning shall not disqualify applicants who are otherwise fully qualified.
    (f) Subject to appropriation, each State Scholar who enrolls or is enrolled in an institution of higher learning in this State shall also receive a one‑time grant of $1,000 to be applied to tuition and mandatory fees and paid directly to the institution of higher learning. However, a student who has been awarded a Merit Recognition Scholarship under Section 31 of this Act may not be awarded a grant under this subsection (f), although he or she may still be designated a State Scholar.
    (g) The Commission shall conduct a study detailing all of the following information:
        (1) The number of students designated State Scholars
     in 2008 and 2009.
        (2) The number of State Scholars who applied to State
     universities in 2008 and 2009.
        (3) The number of State Scholars who were denied
     admittance into the State universities to which they applied in 2008 and 2009.
    All data collected from a State university in regards to
     the study conducted under this subsection (g) must be verified by that university.
    On or before January 1, 2010, the Commission must submit
     a report to the General Assembly that contains the findings of the study conducted under this subsection (g) and the Commission's recommendations on how to make State universities more accessible to State Scholars.
    (h) The Commission shall adopt all necessary and proper rules not inconsistent with this Section for its effective implementation.
(Source: P.A. 95‑715, eff. 1‑1‑09; 95‑760, eff. 7‑28‑08; 96‑315, eff. 8‑11‑09; 96‑328, eff. 8‑11‑09.)

    (110 ILCS 947/30)
    Sec. 30. (Repealed).
(Source: P.A. 90‑372, eff. 7‑1‑98; 90‑728, eff. 1‑1‑99. Repealed by P.A. 91‑128, eff. 7‑1‑00.)

    (110 ILCS 947/31)
    Sec. 31. Merit Recognition Scholarship program.
    (a) As used in this Section:
    "Eligible applicant" means a student from any high school in this State, either approved by or not recognized by the State Board of Education, who is engaged in a program of study that in due course will be completed by the end of the academic year, and (i) whose cumulative high school grade point average is at or above the 95th percentile of his or her high school class after completion of the 6th semester of a high school program of instruction or (ii) whose score on a standardized examination determined by the Commission, taken before or during the 6th semester of high school, is at or above the 95th percentile of students in the State who take the standardized college entrance examination. These high school students are all eligible to receive a scholarship to be awarded under this Section.
    "Qualified student" means a person:
        (1) who is a resident of this State and a citizen or
     permanent resident of the United States;
        (2) who, as an eligible applicant, is in good
     academic standing at the high school in which he or she is enrolled and has made a timely application for a Merit Recognition Scholarship under this Section;
        (3) who has successfully completed the program of
     instruction at any high school located in this State; and
        (4) who enrolls or is enrolled in a qualified
     Illinois institution of higher learning or a Service Academy as an undergraduate student or cadet and has not received a baccalaureate degree.
    "Merit Recognition Scholarship" means a $1,000 academic scholarship awarded under this Section during an academic year to a qualified student, without regard to financial need, as a scholarship to any qualified Illinois institution of higher learning or a Service Academy in which the student is or will be enrolled as an undergraduate student or cadet.
    "Service Academy" means the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, the U.S. Military Academy, or the U.S. Naval Academy.
    (b) In order to identify, encourage, promote, and reward the distinguished academic achievement of students from every high school located in this State, each qualified student shall be awarded a Merit Recognition Scholarship by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission to any qualified Illinois institution of higher learning or to any Service Academy.
    (b‑5) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Section, a student who has received a grant under the State Scholar program under Section 25 of this Act is ineligible to receive a Merit Recognition Scholarship.
    (c) No Merit Recognition Scholarship provided for a qualified student under this Section shall be considered in evaluating the financial situation of that student or be deemed a financial resource of or a form of financial aid or assistance to that student, for purposes of determining the eligibility of the student for any scholarship, grant, or monetary assistance awarded by the Commission, the State, or any agency thereof pursuant to the provisions of any other Section of this Act or any other law of this State; nor shall any Merit Recognition Scholarship provided for a qualified student under this Section reduce the amount of any scholarship, grant, or monetary assistance that that student is eligible to be awarded by the Commission, the State, or any agency thereof in accordance with the provisions of any other Section of this Act or any other law of this State.
    (d) The Illinois Student Assistance Commission is designated as administrator of the Merit Recognition Scholarship program. Each high school located in this State shall certify to the Commission the names of its students who are eligible applicants, specifying which of the students certified as eligible applicants have completed the program of instruction at that high school and the graduation date fixed for their high school class and specifying for each of the other eligible applicants whose names appear on the certification the semester of high school last completed by them. The Commission shall promptly notify those eligible applicants so certified who are reasonably assured of receiving a Merit Recognition Scholarship in accordance with the annual funding levels recommended in the Governor's budget of their eligibility to apply for a scholarship under this Section, other than any eligible applicant named on any such certification who, as an eligible applicant, has previously made application to the Commission for a Merit Recognition Scholarship under this Section. An otherwise eligible applicant who fails to make a timely application (as determined by the Commission) for a Merit Recognition Scholarship under this Section shall no longer be deemed an eligible applicant and shall not qualify for the award.
    (e) All applications for Merit Recognition Scholarships to be awarded under this Section shall be made to the Commission on forms that the Commission shall provide for eligible applicants. The form of applications and the information required to be set forth therein shall be determined by the Commission, and the Commission shall require eligible applicants to submit with their applications such supporting documents as the Commission deems necessary.
    (f) The names and addresses of Merit Recognition Scholarship recipients are a matter of public record.
    (g) Whenever an eligible applicant who has completed the program of instruction at any high school located in this State thereafter makes timely application to the Commission for a Merit Recognition Scholarship under this Section, the Commission shall promptly determine whether that eligible applicant is a qualified student as defined in subsection (a) of this Section. Each such eligible applicant so determined by the Commission to be a qualified student shall be awarded a Merit Recognition Scholarship in the amount of $1,000, effective exclusively during the academic year following the qualified student's high school graduation, subject to appropriation by the General Assembly.
    (h) Subject to a separate appropriation for purposes of this Section, payment of any Merit Recognition Scholarship awarded under this Section shall be determined exclusively by the Commission. All scholarship funds distributed in accordance with this subsection (h) shall be paid to the qualified Illinois institution of higher learning or Service Academy and used only for payment of the educational expenses incurred by the student in connection with his or her attendance as an undergraduate student or cadet at that institution or Service Academy, including but not limited to tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, required Service Academy uniforms, and travel and personal expenses related to the student's attendance at that institution or Service Academy. Any Merit Recognition Scholarship awarded under this Section shall be applicable to 2 semesters or 3 quarters of enrollment. Should a qualified student withdraw from enrollment prior to completion of the first semester or quarter for which the Merit Recognition Scholarship is applicable, the student shall refund to the Commission the amount of the scholarship received.
    (i) The Commission shall administer the Merit Recognition Scholarship program established by this Section and shall make all necessary and proper rules, not inconsistent with this Section, for its effective implementation.
    (j) When an appropriation to the Commission for purposes of this Section is insufficient to provide scholarships to all qualified students, the Commission shall allocate the appropriation in accordance with this subsection (j). If funds are insufficient to provide all qualified students with a scholarship as authorized by subsection (g) of this Section, the Commission shall allocate the scholarships to qualified students in order of decreasing relative academic rank, as determined by the Commission using a formula based upon the qualified student's grade point average, score on the appropriate statewide standardized examination, or a combination of grade point average and standardized test score. All Merit Recognition Scholarships awarded shall be in the amount of $1,000.
    (k) The Commission, in determining the number of Merit Recognition Scholarships to be offered pursuant to subsection (j) of this Section, shall take into consideration past experience with the rate of merit scholarship funds unclaimed by qualified students. To the extent necessary to avoid an over‑commitment of funds, the Commission may allocate scholarship funds on the basis of the date the Commission receives a completed application form.
(Source: P.A. 95‑715, eff. 1‑1‑09.)

    (110 ILCS 947/35)
    Sec. 35. Monetary award program.
    (a) The Commission shall, each year, receive and consider applications for grant assistance under this Section. Subject to a separate appropriation for such purposes, an applicant is eligible for a grant under this Section when the Commission finds that the applicant:
        (1) is a resident of this State and a citizen or
     permanent resident of the United States; and
        (2) in the absence of grant assistance, will be
     deterred by financial considerations from completing an educational program at the qualified institution of his or her choice.
    (b) The Commission shall award renewals only upon the student's application and upon the Commission's finding that the applicant:
        (1) has remained a student in good standing;
        (2) remains a resident of this State; and
        (3) is in a financial situation that continues to
     warrant assistance.
    (c) All grants shall be applicable only to tuition and necessary fee costs. The Commission shall determine the grant amount for each student, which shall not exceed the smallest of the following amounts:
        (1) subject to appropriation, $5,468 for fiscal year
     2009, $5,968 for fiscal year 2010, and $6,468 for fiscal year 2011 and each fiscal year thereafter, or such lesser amount as the Commission finds to be available, during an academic year;
        (2) the amount which equals 2 semesters or 3
     quarters tuition and other necessary fees required generally by the institution of all full‑time undergraduate students; or
        (3) such amount as the Commission finds to be
     appropriate in view of the applicant's financial resources.
    Subject to appropriation, the maximum grant amount for students not subject to subdivision (1) of this subsection (c) must be increased by the same percentage as any increase made by law to the maximum grant amount under subdivision (1) of this subsection (c).
    "Tuition and other necessary fees" as used in this Section include the customary charge for instruction and use of facilities in general, and the additional fixed fees charged for specified purposes, which are required generally of nongrant recipients for each academic period for which the grant applicant actually enrolls, but do not include fees payable only once or breakage fees and other contingent deposits which are refundable in whole or in part. The Commission may prescribe, by rule not inconsistent with this Section, detailed provisions concerning the computation of tuition and other necessary fees.
    (d) No applicant, including those presently receiving scholarship assistance under this Act, is eligible for monetary award program consideration under this Act after receiving a baccalaureate degree or the equivalent of 135 semester credit hours of award payments.
    (e) The Commission, in determining the number of grants to be offered, shall take into consideration past experience with the rate of grant funds unclaimed by recipients. The Commission shall notify applicants that grant assistance is contingent upon the availability of appropriated funds.
    (f) The Commission may request appropriations for deposit into the Monetary Award Program Reserve Fund. Monies deposited into the Monetary Award Program Reserve Fund may be expended exclusively for one purpose: to make Monetary Award Program grants to eligible students. Amounts on deposit in the Monetary Award Program Reserve Fund may not exceed 2% of the current annual State appropriation for the Monetary Award Program.
    The purpose of the Monetary Award Program Reserve Fund is to enable the Commission each year to assure as many students as possible of their eligibility for a Monetary Award Program grant and to do so before commencement of the academic year. Moneys deposited in this Reserve Fund are intended to enhance the Commission's management of the Monetary Award Program, minimizing the necessity, magnitude, and frequency of adjusting award amounts and ensuring that the annual Monetary Award Program appropriation can be fully utilized.
    (g) The Commission shall determine the eligibility of and make grants to applicants enrolled at qualified for‑profit institutions in accordance with the criteria set forth in this Section. The eligibility of applicants enrolled at such for‑profit institutions shall be limited as follows:
        (1) Beginning with the academic year 1997, only to
     eligible first‑time freshmen and first‑time transfer students who have attained an associate degree.
        (2) Beginning with the academic year 1998, only to
     eligible freshmen students, transfer students who have attained an associate degree, and students who receive a grant under paragraph (1) for the academic year 1997 and whose grants are being renewed for the academic year 1998.
        (3) Beginning with the academic year 1999, to all
     eligible students.
(Source: P.A. 95‑917, eff. 8‑26‑08.)

    (110 ILCS 947/36)<

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