(1) The opportunity scholarship program is established.
(2) The purpose of this scholarship program is to provide scholarships that will help low and middle-income Washington residents earn professional-technical certificates, professional-technical degrees, baccalaureate degrees in high employer demand and other programs of study, and advanced degrees in health professions, and encourage them to remain in the state to work. The program must be designed for students starting professional-technical certificate or degree programs, students starting at two-year institutions of higher education and intending to transfer to four-year institutions of higher education, students starting at four-year institutions of higher education, and students enrolled in eligible advanced degree programs.
(3) The opportunity scholarship board shall determine which programs of study, including but not limited to high employer demand programs, are eligible for purposes of the opportunity scholarship. For eligible advanced degree programs, the board shall limit scholarships to eligible students enrolling in programs that lead to credentials in health professions.
(4)(a) The source of funds for the program shall be a combination of private grants and contributions and state matching funds. A state match may be earned under this section for private contributions made on or after June 6, 2011.
(b) The state match must be based on donations and pledges received as of the date each official state caseload forecast is submitted by the caseload forecast council to the legislative fiscal committees, as provided under RCW 43.88C.020
. The purpose of this subsection (4)(b) is to ensure the predictable treatment of the program in the budget process by clarifying the calculation process of the state match required by this section and ensuring the program is budgeted at maintenance level.
(c) A state match, up to a maximum of fifty million dollars annually, shall be provided beginning the later of January 1, 2014, or January 1st next following the end of the fiscal year in which collections of state retail sales and use tax, state business and occupation tax, and state public utility tax exceed, by ten percent the amounts collected from these tax resources in the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2008, as determined by the department of revenue.