Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of SB0437
Illinois General Assembly

Previous General Assemblies

Full Text of SB0437  95th General Assembly


Sen. Edward D. Maloney

Filed: 3/6/2007





09500SB0437sam001 LRB095 10765 RAS 32797 a


2     AMENDMENT NO. ______. Amend Senate Bill 437 by replacing
3 everything after the enacting clause with the following:
4     "Section 5. The Higher Education Student Assistance Act is
5 amended by changing Sections 25 and 31 as follows:
6     (110 ILCS 947/25)
7     Sec. 25. State scholar program.
8     (a) An applicant is eligible to be designated a State
9 Scholar when the Commission finds the candidate:
10         (1) is a resident of this State and a citizen or
11     permanent resident of the United States;
12         (2) has successfully completed the program of
13     instruction at an approved high school, or is a student in
14     good standing at such a school and is engaged in a program
15     which in due course will be completed by the end of the
16     academic year, and in either event that the candidate's



09500SB0437sam001 - 2 - LRB095 10765 RAS 32797 a

1     academic standing is above the class median; and that the
2     candidate has not had any university, college, normal
3     school, private junior college or public community
4     college, or other advanced training subsequent to
5     graduation from high school; and
6         (3) has superior capacity to profit by a higher
7     education.
8     (b) In determining an applicant's superior capacity to
9 profit by a higher education, the Commission shall consider the
10 candidate's scholastic record in high school and the results of
11 the examination conducted under the provisions of this Act. The
12 Commission shall establish by rule the minimum conditions of
13 eligibility in terms of the foregoing factors, and the relative
14 weight to be accorded to those factors.
15     (c) The Commission shall base its State Scholar
16 designations upon the eligibility formula prescribed in its
17 rules, except that notwithstanding those rules or any other
18 provision of this Section, a student nominated by his or her
19 school shall be designated a State Scholar if that student
20 achieves an Illinois Standard Test Score at or above the 95th
21 percentile among students taking the designated examinations
22 in Illinois that year, as determined by the Commission.
23     (d) The Commission shall obtain the results of a
24 competitive examination from the applicants this Act. The
25 examination shall provide a measure of each candidate's ability
26 to perform college work and shall have demonstrated utility in



09500SB0437sam001 - 3 - LRB095 10765 RAS 32797 a

1 such a selection program. The Commission shall select, and
2 designate by rule, the specific examinations to be used in
3 determining the applicant's superior capacity to profit from a
4 higher education. Candidates may be asked by the Commission to
5 take those steps necessary to provide results of the designated
6 examination as part of their applications. Any nominal cost of
7 obtaining or providing the examination results shall be paid by
8 the candidate to the agency designated by the Commission to
9 provide the examination service. In the event that a candidate
10 or candidates are unable to participate in the examination for
11 financial reasons, the Commission may choose to pay the
12 examination fee on the candidate's or candidates' behalf. Any
13 notary fee which may also be required as part of the total
14 application shall be paid by the applicant.
15     (e) The Commission shall award to each State Scholar a
16 certificate or other suitable form of recognition. The decision
17 to attend a non-qualified institution of higher learning shall
18 not disqualify applicants who are otherwise fully qualified.
19     (f) Subject to appropriation, each State Scholar who
20 enrolls or is enrolled in an institution of higher learning in
21 this State shall also receive a one-time grant of $1,000 to be
22 applied to tuition and mandatory fees and paid directly to the
23 institution of higher learning. However, a student who has been
24 awarded a Merit Recognition Scholarship under Section 31 of
25 this Act may not be awarded a grant under this subsection (f),
26 although he or she may still be designated a State Scholar.



09500SB0437sam001 - 4 - LRB095 10765 RAS 32797 a

1     (g) The Commission shall adopt all necessary and proper
2 rules not inconsistent with this Section for its effective
3 implementation.
4 (Source: P.A. 87-997.)
5     (110 ILCS 947/31)
6     Sec. 31. Merit Recognition Scholarship program.
7     (a) As used in this Section:
8     "Eligible applicant" means a student from any high school
9 in this State, either approved by or not recognized by the
10 State Board of Education, who is engaged in a program of study
11 that in due course will be completed by the end of the academic
12 year, and (i) whose cumulative high school grade point average
13 is at or above the 95th percentile of his or her high school
14 class after completion of the 6th semester of a high school
15 program of instruction or (ii) whose score on a standardized
16 examination determined by the Commission, taken before or
17 during the 6th semester of high school, is at or above the 95th
18 percentile of students in the State who take the standardized
19 college entrance examination. These high school students are
20 all eligible to receive a scholarship to be awarded under this
21 Section.
22     "Qualified student" means a person:
23         (1) who is a resident of this State and a citizen or
24     permanent resident of the United States;
25         (2) who, as an eligible applicant, is in good academic



09500SB0437sam001 - 5 - LRB095 10765 RAS 32797 a

1     standing at the high school in which he or she is enrolled
2     and has made a timely application for a Merit Recognition
3     Scholarship under this Section;
4         (3) who has successfully completed the program of
5     instruction at any high school located in this State; and
6         (4) who enrolls or is enrolled in a qualified Illinois
7     institution of higher learning or a Service Academy as an
8     undergraduate student or cadet and has not received a
9     baccalaureate degree.
10     "Merit Recognition Scholarship" means a $1,000 academic
11 scholarship awarded under this Section during an academic year
12 to a qualified student, without regard to financial need, as a
13 scholarship to any qualified Illinois institution of higher
14 learning or a Service Academy in which the student is or will
15 be enrolled as an undergraduate student or cadet.
16     "Service Academy" means the U.S. Air Force Academy, the
17 U.S. Coast Guard Academy, the U.S. Military Academy, or the
18 U.S. Naval Academy.
19     (b) In order to identify, encourage, promote, and reward
20 the distinguished academic achievement of students from every
21 high school located in this State, each qualified student shall
22 be awarded a Merit Recognition Scholarship by the Illinois
23 Student Assistance Commission to any qualified Illinois
24 institution of higher learning or to any Service Academy.
25     (b-5) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Section,
26 a student who has received a grant under the State Scholar



09500SB0437sam001 - 6 - LRB095 10765 RAS 32797 a

1 program under Section 25 of this Act is ineligible to receive a
2 Merit Recognition Scholarship.
3     (c) No Merit Recognition Scholarship provided for a
4 qualified student under this Section shall be considered in
5 evaluating the financial situation of that student or be deemed
6 a financial resource of or a form of financial aid or
7 assistance to that student, for purposes of determining the
8 eligibility of the student for any scholarship, grant, or
9 monetary assistance awarded by the Commission, the State, or
10 any agency thereof pursuant to the provisions of any other
11 Section of this Act or any other law of this State; nor shall
12 any Merit Recognition Scholarship provided for a qualified
13 student under this Section reduce the amount of any
14 scholarship, grant, or monetary assistance that that student is
15 eligible to be awarded by the Commission, the State, or any
16 agency thereof in accordance with the provisions of any other
17 Section of this Act or any other law of this State.
18     (d) The Illinois Student Assistance Commission is
19 designated as administrator of the Merit Recognition
20 Scholarship program. Each high school located in this State
21 shall certify to the Commission the names of its students who
22 are eligible applicants, specifying which of the students
23 certified as eligible applicants have completed the program of
24 instruction at that high school and the graduation date fixed
25 for their high school class and specifying for each of the
26 other eligible applicants whose names appear on the



09500SB0437sam001 - 7 - LRB095 10765 RAS 32797 a

1 certification the semester of high school last completed by
2 them. The Commission shall promptly notify those eligible
3 applicants so certified who are reasonably assured of receiving
4 a Merit Recognition Scholarship in accordance with the annual
5 funding levels recommended in the Governor's budget of their
6 eligibility to apply for a scholarship under this Section,
7 other than any eligible applicant named on any such
8 certification who, as an eligible applicant, has previously
9 made application to the Commission for a Merit Recognition
10 Scholarship under this Section. An otherwise eligible
11 applicant who fails to make a timely application (as determined
12 by the Commission) for a Merit Recognition Scholarship under
13 this Section shall no longer be deemed an eligible applicant
14 and shall not qualify for the award.
15     (e) All applications for Merit Recognition Scholarships to
16 be awarded under this Section shall be made to the Commission
17 on forms that the Commission shall provide for eligible
18 applicants. The form of applications and the information
19 required to be set forth therein shall be determined by the
20 Commission, and the Commission shall require eligible
21 applicants to submit with their applications such supporting
22 documents as the Commission deems necessary.
23     (f) The names and addresses of Merit Recognition
24 Scholarship recipients are a matter of public record.
25     (g) Whenever an eligible applicant who has completed the
26 program of instruction at any high school located in this State



09500SB0437sam001 - 8 - LRB095 10765 RAS 32797 a

1 thereafter makes timely application to the Commission for a
2 Merit Recognition Scholarship under this Section, the
3 Commission shall promptly determine whether that eligible
4 applicant is a qualified student as defined in subsection (a)
5 of this Section. Each such eligible applicant so determined by
6 the Commission to be a qualified student shall be awarded a
7 Merit Recognition Scholarship in the amount of $1,000,
8 effective exclusively during the academic year following the
9 qualified student's high school graduation, subject to
10 appropriation by the General Assembly.
11     (h) Subject to a separate appropriation for purposes of
12 this Section, payment of any Merit Recognition Scholarship
13 awarded under this Section shall be determined exclusively by
14 the Commission. All scholarship funds distributed in
15 accordance with this subsection (h) shall be paid to the
16 qualified Illinois institution of higher learning or Service
17 Academy and used only for payment of the educational expenses
18 incurred by the student in connection with his or her
19 attendance as an undergraduate student or cadet at that
20 institution or Service Academy, including but not limited to
21 tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, required
22 Service Academy uniforms, and travel and personal expenses
23 related to the student's attendance at that institution or
24 Service Academy. Any Merit Recognition Scholarship awarded
25 under this Section shall be applicable to 2 semesters or 3
26 quarters of enrollment. Should a qualified student withdraw



09500SB0437sam001 - 9 - LRB095 10765 RAS 32797 a

1 from enrollment prior to completion of the first semester or
2 quarter for which the Merit Recognition Scholarship is
3 applicable, the student shall refund to the Commission the
4 amount of the scholarship received.
5     (i) The Commission shall administer the Merit Recognition
6 Scholarship program established by this Section and shall make
7 all necessary and proper rules, not inconsistent with this
8 Section, for its effective implementation.
9     (j) When an appropriation to the Commission for purposes of
10 this Section is insufficient to provide scholarships to all
11 qualified students, the Commission shall allocate the
12 appropriation in accordance with this subsection (j). If funds
13 are insufficient to provide all qualified students with a
14 scholarship as authorized by subsection (g) of this Section,
15 the Commission shall allocate the scholarships to qualified
16 students in order of decreasing relative academic rank, as
17 determined by the Commission using a formula based upon the
18 qualified student's grade point average, score on the
19 appropriate statewide standardized examination, or a
20 combination of grade point average and standardized test score.
21 All Merit Recognition Scholarships awarded shall be in the
22 amount of $1,000.
23     (k) The Commission, in determining the number of Merit
24 Recognition Scholarships to be offered pursuant to subsection
25 (j) of this Section, shall take into consideration past
26 experience with the rate of merit scholarship funds unclaimed



09500SB0437sam001 - 10 - LRB095 10765 RAS 32797 a

1 by qualified students. To the extent necessary to avoid an
2 over-commitment of funds, the Commission may allocate
3 scholarship funds on the basis of the date the Commission
4 receives a completed application form.
5 (Source: P.A. 91-128, eff. 7-1-00.)".