RCW 28B.145.030

Program administratorDutiesSpecified accounts.

(1) The program administrator shall provide administrative support to execute the duties and responsibilities provided in this chapter, including but not limited to publicizing the program, selecting participants for the opportunity scholarship award, distributing opportunity scholarship awards, and achieving the maximum possible rate of return on investment of the accounts in subsection (2) of this section, while ensuring transparency in the investment decisions and processes. Duties, exercised jointly with the board, include soliciting funds and setting annual fund-raising goals. The program administrator shall be paid an administrative fee as determined by the board.
(2) With respect to the opportunity scholarship program, the program administrator shall:
(a) Establish and manage the specified accounts created in (b) of this subsection, into which to receive grants and contributions from private sources as well as state matching funds, and from which to disburse scholarship funds to participants;
(b) Solicit and accept grants and contributions from private sources, via direct payment, pledge agreement, or escrow account, of private sources for deposit into any of the specified accounts created in this subsection (2)(b) upon the direction of the donor and in accordance with this subsection (2)(b):
(i) The "scholarship account," whose principal may be invaded, and from which scholarships must be disbursed for baccalaureate programs beginning no later than December 1, 2011, if, by that date, state matching funds in the amount of five million dollars or more have been received. Thereafter, scholarships shall be disbursed on an annual basis beginning no later than May 1, 2012, and every October 1st thereafter;
(ii) The "student support pathways account," whose principal may be invaded, and from which scholarships may be disbursed for professional-technical certificate or degree programs in the fiscal year following appropriations of state matching funds. Thereafter, scholarships shall be disbursed on an annual basis;
(iii) The "advanced degrees pathways account," whose principal may be invaded, and from which scholarships may be disbursed for eligible advanced degree programs in the fiscal year following appropriations of state matching funds. Thereafter, scholarships shall be disbursed on an annual basis;
(iv) The "endowment account," from which scholarship moneys may be disbursed for baccalaureate programs from earnings only in years when:
(A) The state match has been made into both the scholarship and the endowment account; and
(B) The state appropriations for the Washington college grant program under chapter 28B.92 RCW meet or exceed state appropriations for the state need grant made in the 2011-2013 biennium, adjusted for inflation, and eligibility for Washington college grant recipients is at least seventy percent of state median family income;
(v) An amount equal to at least fifty percent of all grants and contributions must be deposited into the scholarship account until such time as twenty million dollars have been deposited into the scholarship account, after which time the private donors may designate whether their contributions must be deposited to the scholarship account, the student support pathways account, the advanced degrees pathways account, or the endowment account. The board and the program administrator must work to maximize private sector contributions to these accounts to maintain a robust scholarship program while simultaneously building the endowment, and to determine the division between the accounts in the case of undesignated grants and contributions, taking into account the need for a long-term funding mechanism and the short-term needs of families and students in Washington. The first five million dollars in state match, as provided in RCW 28B.145.040, shall be deposited into the scholarship account and thereafter the state match shall be deposited into the specified accounts created in this subsection (2)(b) in equal proportion to the private funds deposited in each account, except that no more than $5,000,000 in state match shall be deposited into the advanced degrees pathways account in a single fiscal biennium; and
(vi) Once moneys in the opportunity scholarship match transfer account are subject to an agreement under RCW 28B.145.050(5) and are deposited in the scholarship account, the student support pathways account, the advanced degrees pathways account, or the endowment account under this section, the state acts in a fiduciary rather than ownership capacity with regard to those assets. Assets in the scholarship account, the student support pathways account, the advanced degrees pathways account, and the endowment account are not considered state money, common cash, or revenue to the state;
(c) Provide proof of receipt of grants and contributions from private sources to the council, identifying the amounts received by name of private source and date, and whether the amounts received were deposited into the scholarship account, the student support pathways account, the advanced degrees pathways account, or the endowment account;
(d) In consultation with the council and the state board for community and technical colleges, make an assessment of the reasonable annual eligible expenses associated with eligible education programs and eligible advanced degree programs identified by the board;
(e) Determine the dollar difference between tuition fees charged by institutions of higher education in the 2008-09 academic year and the academic year for which an opportunity scholarship is being distributed;
(f) Develop and implement an application, selection, and notification process for awarding opportunity scholarships;
(g) Ensure that if the private source is from a federally recognized Indian tribe, municipality, or county, an amount at least equal to the value of the private source plus the state match is awarded to participants within that federally recognized Indian tribe, municipality, or county according to the federally recognized Indian tribe's, municipality's, or county's program rules;
(h) Determine the annual amount of the opportunity scholarship for each selected participant. The annual amount shall be at least one thousand dollars or the amount determined under (e) of this subsection, but may be increased on an income-based, sliding scale basis up to the amount necessary to cover all reasonable annual eligible expenses as assessed pursuant to (d) of this subsection, or to encourage participation in professional-technical certificate programs, professional-technical degree programs, baccalaureate degree programs, or eligible advanced degree programs identified by the board;
(i) Distribute scholarship funds to selected participants. Once awarded, and to the extent funds are available for distribution, an opportunity scholarship shall be automatically renewed as long as the participant annually submits documentation of filing both a free application for federal student aid (FAFSA) and for available federal education tax credits including, but not limited to, the American opportunity tax credit, or if ineligible to apply for federal student aid, the participant annually submits documentation of filing a state financial aid application as approved by the office of student financial assistance; and until the participant withdraws from or is no longer attending the program, completes the program, or has taken the credit or clock hour equivalent of one hundred twenty-five percent of the published length of time of the participant's program, whichever occurs first;
(j) Notify institutions of scholarship recipients who will attend their institutions and inform them of the terms of the students' eligibility; and
(k) For participants enrolled in an eligible advanced degree program, document each participant's employment following graduation.
(3) With respect to the opportunity expansion program, the program administrator shall:
(a) Assist the board in developing and implementing an application, selection, and notification process for making opportunity expansion awards; and
(b) Solicit and accept grants and contributions from private sources for opportunity expansion awards.
[ 2021 c 170 § 5; 2019 c 406 § 65. Prior: 2018 c 209 § 8; 2018 c 204 § 2; 2018 c 114 § 4; 2014 c 208 § 3; 2011 1st sp.s. c 13 § 4.]

NOTES:

FindingsIntent2021 c 170: See note following RCW 71.24.887.
FindingsIntent2019 c 406: See note following RCW 43.79.195.
FindingsShort title2019 c 406: See notes following RCW 28B.92.200.
Findings2019 c 406: See note following RCW 28B.94.020.
FindingsIntent2019 c 406: See note following RCW 28C.30.050.
FindingsIntent2019 c 406: See note following RCW 43.216.135.