SB529 (2020) Detail

Relative to the New Hampshire excellence in higher education scholarship program and establishing a workforce development student debt relief program and fund.


SB 529-FN - AS INTRODUCED

 

 

2020 SESSION

20-3071

04/06

 

SENATE BILL 529-FN

 

AN ACT relative to the New Hampshire excellence in higher education scholarship program and establishing a workforce development student debt relief program and fund.

 

SPONSORS: Sen. D'Allesandro, Dist 20; Sen. Kahn, Dist 10; Sen. Feltes, Dist 15; Sen. Soucy, Dist 18

 

COMMITTEE: Finance

 

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ANALYSIS

 

This bill establishes a workforce development student debt relief program and fund, and authorizes a portion of funds in the New Hampshire excellence in higher education trust fund to be used for this new program.

 

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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

20-3071

04/06

 

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

 

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Twenty

 

AN ACT relative to the New Hampshire excellence in higher education scholarship program and establishing a workforce development student debt relief program and fund.

 

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

 

1  Governor's Scholarship Program and Fund; Definitions.  Amend RSA 4-C:31, I to read as follows:

I.  "Commission" means the college tuition savings plan [advisory] scholarship commission established in RSA 195-H:2.

2  Application of Receipts; New Hampshire Excellence in Higher Education Trust Fund.  Amend RSA 6:12, I(b)(115) to read as follows:

(115)  Moneys deposited in the New Hampshire excellence in higher education [endowment] trust fund established under RSA 6:38.

3  New Hampshire Excellence in Higher Education Trust Fund.  Amend the subdivision heading preceding RSA 6:37 and RSA 6:37 through RSA 6:43 to read as follows:

New Hampshire Excellence in

Higher Education [Endowment] Trust Fund

6:37  Definitions.  In this subdivision:

I.  "Commission" means the New Hampshire college tuition savings plan [advisory] and scholarship commission established in RSA 195-H.

II.  "Eligible educational institution" means that which is defined in section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code, as amended.

III.  "Trust fund" means the New Hampshire excellence in higher education [endowment] trust fund as established in this chapter.

6:38  New Hampshire Excellence in Higher Education [Endowment] Trust Fund Established.  

I.  There is hereby established [in the office of the treasurer] the New Hampshire excellence in higher education [endowment] trust fund which shall be kept distinct and separate from all other funds.  Annual assessments less any annual administrative costs received from the New Hampshire college tuition savings plan and scholarship commission established under RSA 195-H shall be [credited to the trust fund to provide scholarships for the benefit of residents of the state pursuing programs of study at eligible educational institutions within the state] allocated in the following order:

(a)  Fifty percent shall be used to provide direct scholarships to New Hampshire residents attending New Hampshire institutions of higher education; and

(b)  From the remainder:

(1)  The sum of $2,000,000 annually shall be used for the UNIQUE endowment allocation program; and

(2)  Any remaining funds shall be credited to the workforce development student debt relief fund established in RSA 162-T:3 for the purpose of providing student debt relief.

II.  The state treasurer shall be the trustee of the trust fund established in this chapter, and shall invest the trust fund in accordance with RSA 6:8.  Any earnings on trust fund moneys shall be added to the trust fund.

III.  All moneys in the trust fund shall be nonlapsing and shall be continually appropriated to the commission for purposes of providing education scholarships under this subdivision and student debt relief pursuant to RSA 162-T.

6:39  Administration.  

I.  The trust fund shall be administered by the New Hampshire college tuition savings plan [advisory] and scholarship commission established in RSA 195-H:2.

II.  The commission shall have the authority to institute promotional programs and to solicit and receive gifts or donations of any kind for the purpose of supporting educational scholarships within the trust fund.  Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, the commission may accept gifts to the trust fund including, but not limited to, cash gifts and real or personal property, without the approval of the governor and council.

III.  All gifts, grants, and donations of any kind shall be credited to the trust fund.

IV.  The commission may enter into agreements with existing departments or agencies, as it deems necessary, to administer the scholarship application, qualification, and award process.

V.  No more than one percent of the total amount of scholarships awarded from the trust fund in any fiscal year shall be used for administrative expenses, except upon approval of the commission.

6:40  Rulemaking.  The commission shall adopt rules, pursuant to RSA 541-A, relative to:

I.  Establishing minimum qualifications of direct scholarship applicants.

II.  Instituting a direct scholarship application process, which includes but is not limited to requiring that all applicants complete a formal scholarship application on appropriate forms to be developed by the commission and time frames for the application process.

III.  Procedures for awarding and disbursing direct scholarships.

IV.  Procedures for determining the amount of funds available to provide annual direct scholarships through the trust fund.

V.  Any other issue which the commission deems relevant to the implementation and administration of the scholarship program.

VI.  Requiring disclosure regarding any scholarship funds, or portion thereof, which are or may be returned to the trust fund.

6:41  Scholarships; Eligibility.  

I.  The commission shall determine all scholarship awards in a fair and equitable manner to eligible residents of this state who have satisfactorily met the minimum qualifications established by the commission.  Scholarships shall be granted on the basis of merit and need.

II.  All scholarships awarded by the commission under this subdivision shall be for the period of one academic year or equivalent and in specified amounts of not less than $100 per fiscal year within the limits established by the commission.

III.  No scholarship shall be in excess of the tuition assessed to the student for the academic period in which the scholarship is received.

IV.  No person to whom a scholarship is awarded shall be restricted as to the choice of institutions or programs within the state provided the institution selected by the student is an eligible educational institution.  Scholarships may be used at public or private institutions by full-time or part-time students enrolled in undergraduate or graduate level programs.

6:42  Certification of Available Funds.  By April 1 of each year, the commission shall determine the funding level available for scholarships for the next academic year and shall certify such amount to the state treasurer.

6:43  Report.  By November 1 of each year, the commission shall prepare a report regarding the status of the trust fund.  Such report shall be submitted to the president of the senate, the speaker of the house of representatives, the governor, and the state library, and shall be posted to the state government Internet site.

4  Workforce Development Student Debt Relief Program.  Amend the chapter heading of RSA 162-T to read as follows:

[REGENERATIVE MANUFACTURING]

WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT STUDENT DEBT RELIEF PROGRAM

5  Workforce Development Student Debt Relief Program.  Amend RSA 162-T:1 to read as follows:

162-T:1  Declaration of Need and Purpose.  It is declared that there is a statewide need for the preservation and development of a skilled workforce for the betterment of the economy of the state[,] and its inhabitants[, and in particular for the development and preservation of a regenerative manufacturing workforce].  It is the purpose of this chapter to provide for the development, attraction, and retention of skilled, qualified, and productive workers within the state who will be capable of supporting the preservation, establishment, and redevelopment of business and industry, preserving or increasing the social welfare or economic prosperity of the state or its political subdivisions, and promoting the general welfare of the state's citizens.  It is further declared that the business finance authority (hereinafter the "authority"), acting pursuant to the powers granted in this chapter shall be regarded as performing an essential governmental function in carrying out the provisions of this chapter.

6  Workforce Development Student Debt Relief Program.  Amend RSA 162-T:2, III to read as follows:

III.  Any student indebtedness that may be subject to a program or programs established by the authority under this chapter shall meet the following minimum requirements:

(a)  The person shall have achieved academic requirements such as graduate degrees or other evidence of academic achievement as has been determined by the authority;

(b)  The person shall be employed [to perform primarily active regenerative manufacturing business activities as that term is defined in RSA 77-A:1, XXX] in a qualified industry as defined in RSA 162-T:6, and the principal office at which such person is employed is located within New Hampshire;

(c)  No forgiveness of such student indebtedness shall be effected unless the person shall have been employed [to perform primarily active regenerative manufacturing business activities] in a qualified industry as defined in RSA 162-T:6 at a location within New Hampshire for a minimum period of 5 years.

7  Workforce Development Student Debt Relief Fund Established.  Amend RSA 162-T:3, I to read as follows:

162-T:3  [State Regenerative Manufacturing] Workforce Development Student Debt Relief Fund Established.  

I.  There is established within the authority a [state regenerative manufacturing] workforce development student debt relief fund, which shall be held by the authority apart from all of its other funds.  Annual state appropriations and other funds from state or federal sources, and any gifts, grants, or donations, shall be credited to the fund.  The [state regenerative manufacturing workforce development] fund shall be administered by the authority and shall be used for the [sole purposes of carrying out the purposes of] purposes set forth in RSA 162-T:2.  The authority shall invest the fund in accordance with RSA 6:8.  Any earnings on fund moneys shall be added to the fund.  All moneys in the fund shall be nonlapsing and shall be continually appropriated to the fund for the purpose of providing [regenerative manufacturing worker educational] debt relief as provided in this section.

8  Workforce Development Student Debt Relief.  RSA 162-T:5 is repealed and reenacted to read as follows:

162-T:5  Student Debt Relief for Workforce Needs; Acquisition of Loans or Other Evidence of Indebtedness.

I.  The authority shall also have the power to expend or loan money upon such terms and conditions as prescribed by the authority to acquire loans or other evidences of education indebtedness incurred by persons for the purpose of financing postsecondary education and to provide for deferment or forgiveness of repayment of such education indebtedness pursuant to a program established by the authority and approved by the governor and council pursuant to this section.

II.  Any student indebtedness that may be subject to a program established by the authority under this chapter shall meet the following minimum requirements:

(a)  The person shall have an undergraduate or graduate degree, or other evidence of academic achievement as determined by the authority;

(b)  The person shall be employed to perform a qualified activity within a qualified industry as defined in RSA 162-T:6, for a minimum of 5 years, provided that the authority shall not expend more than $5,000,000 in any 5-year period to provide assistance for individuals eligible under RSA 162-T:6, III;

(c)  The principal office at which such person is employed shall be located within New Hampshire;

(d)  Funds granted for student indebtedness shall be disbursed to the student in equal installments over a 5-year period.

III.  Prior to the expenditure or loan of any money under this section, the authority shall enter into one or more agreements with any person obligated to make payments under education indebtedness to provide for the conditions on which the expenditures, deferments, or forgiveness will be made, the terms of repayment of such expenditure or loan, the time and manner of such repayment, the form and amount of security if any, to be pledged to the authority for such repayment, and such other provisions as the authority may determine are necessary or desirable.

IV.  The authority may:

(a)  Determine the nature of education indebtedness programs for eligible persons, including how such loans may be acquired and the mechanisms for deferral of payment or forgiveness with respect to such education indebtedness;

(b)  Enter into contracts with employers of persons who are subject to the programs established under this chapter to assist in the administration of such programs;

(c)  Enter into contracts for the administration or servicing of education indebtedness acquired pursuant to the programs established under this chapter;

(d)  Receive and accept from any public agency or any other source loans, grants, guarantees, or insurance with respect to education indebtedness and the programs established under this chapter;

(e)  Establish guidelines governing the actions of the authority with respect to the programs established under this chapter; and

(f)  Exercise all powers incidental and necessary for the performance of the powers listed in this paragraph.

9  New Section; Workforce Development Student Debt Relief Program; Qualified Industries.  Amend RSA 162-T by inserting after section 5 the following new section:

162-T:6  Qualified Industries.  A person in the following qualified industries shall be eligible for the workforce development student debt relief program outlined in this section:

I.  Health care, provided the person is a Pell grant-eligible student, enrolled in an associate's degree program, certificate program, or job training program, including on-the-job training, in a health care field designed to prepare a student to provide direct medical care to patients.

II.  A state employee who is not a participant in any state, federal, or private student debt assistance or forgiveness program and who is:

(a)  Employed by the division of children, youth, and families as a child protective services worker; or

(b)  A corrections officer employed at a state correctional facility; or

(c)  Employed as a nurse at the state hospital, Glencliff Home, or the Veterans' Home.

III.  Employed at a qualified regenerative manufacturing company, as defined in RSA 77-A:1, XXX.

10  College Tuition Savings Plan; Definitions.  Amend RSA 195-H:1, I to read as follows:

I.  "Commission" means the New Hampshire college tuition savings plan [advisory] scholarship commission.

11  College Tuition Savings Plan; Commission Established.  Amend the introductory paragraph of RSA 195-H:2, I(a) to read as follows:

I.(a)  There is established the New Hampshire college tuition savings plan [advisory] scholarship commission which shall ensure the proper administration and management of the savings plan.  The [advisory] commission shall ensure that the savings plan complies with the requirements of section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, and any related federal law applicable to the savings plan.  The commission shall also be responsible for ensuring the proper administration, implementation, and management of the New Hampshire excellence in higher education [endowment] trust fund established in RSA 6:38, and the governor's scholarship program and fund established in RSA 4-C:31-34.  The commission shall consist of the following members:

12  College Tuition Savings Plan; Rulemaking.  Amend RSA 195-H:3, VIII to read as follows:

VIII.  The administration, implementation, and promotion of the New Hampshire excellence in higher education [endowment] trust fund established in RSA 6:38.

13  College Tuition Savings Plan; Program Transferred.  Amend 2019, 346:437 to read as follows:

346:437  Program Transferred.  The administration, implementation, and management of the governor’s scholarship program established in RSA 4-C:31-34 is hereby transferred to the college tuition savings plan [advisory] scholarship commission established in RSA 195-H:2.  Any administrative rules for the governor’s scholarship program shall continue in effect and shall be enforced by the commission until such rules expire or are repealed or amended in accordance with applicable law.

14  Fiscal Committee of the General Court Approval Required.  The business finance authority shall design the terms, conditions, and provisions of the program set forth in RSA 162-T and sections 4-9 of this act.  Within 180 days of the effective date of this act, the authority shall report to the fiscal committee of the general court on the progress of its efforts to develop such terms, conditions, and provisions.  The authority shall present the program to the fiscal committee of the general court and receive the approval of such committee.

15  Effective Date.  This act shall take effect 60 days after its passage.

 

LBAO

20-3071

1/3/20

 

SB 529-FN- FISCAL NOTE

AS INTRODUCED

 

AN ACT relative to the New Hampshire excellence in higher education scholarship program and establishing a workforce development student debt relief program and fund.

 

FISCAL IMPACT:      [    ] State              [    ] County               [    ] Local              [ X ] None

 

 

METHODOLOGY:

This bill expands the existing Regenerative Manufacturing Workforce Development Program to include workforce development student debt relief for newly defined "qualified industries", including health care and state government, in addition to regenerative manufacturing.  The bill amends provisions of the College Tuition Saving Plan Advisory Commission (RSA 195-H) and the New Hampshire Excellence in Higher Education Trust Fund (Trust Fund, RSA 6:37-6:43) to re-allocate funds generated from administrative assessments charged to 529 plan participants. Fifty percent of available funds from assessments, after administrative costs are deducted, would be provided for direct scholarships to New Hampshire residents attending New Hampshire institutions of higher education.  Of the remaining 50% of available funds, $2 million would be allocated to the UNIQUE endowment allocation program and the balance of funds would be credited to the workforce development debt relief fund administered by the Business Finance Authority pursuant to RSA 162-T:3

 

The Treasury Department indicates the revenues and expenditures of the Department would not be impacted.  Funds from the 529 Plan would still be credited to the Trust Fund and distributed as directed.

 

The Business Finance Authority (BFA) is a self-funding organization that does not receive any funds from the State of New Hampshire.  The bill allocates non-general fund revenue to the BFA to design and administer a student debt relief program but there is no provision in the bill to reimburse the BFA for administrative expense incurred.  The BFA estimates it would incur costs of approximately $300,000 annually to administer the program, assuming substantial administrative work and program oversight.  The BFA indicates it would need to hire one full-time equivalent position with a specialty in student loan servicing and compliance and possibly one part-time administrative position.  The estimate includes salaries, benefits and allocated overhead, but not any contracted services which may be needed to help manage the program.

 

AGENCIES CONTACTED:

Treasury Department and Business Finance Authority

 

Links

SB529 at GenCourtMobile
SB529 Discussion

Action Dates

Date Body Type
March 10, 2020 Senate Hearing
March 19, 2020 Senate Floor Vote

Bill Text Revisions

SB529 Revision: 8082 Date: Feb. 4, 2020, 8:54 a.m.

Docket

Date Status
Jan. 30, 2020 Introduced 01/30/2020 and Referred to Finance; SJ 3
March 10, 2020 Hearing: 03/10/2020, Room 103, SH, 01:00 pm; SC 10
March 19, 2020 Committee Report: Ought to Pass with Amendment # 2020-1178s SC 11
June 16, 2020 Placed on Laid on Table Consent List and Laid on Table, MA, VV; 06/16/2020; SJ 8
June 16, 2020 Pending Motion Committee Amendment # 2020-1178s; 06/16/2020; SJ 8