SEC. 37-106-35. Assistant teacher scholarship program.
(1) There is established the assistant teacher scholarship program for the purpose of assisting eligible assistant teachers to become certificated teachers through the awarding of financial scholarships and to attract and retain qualified teachers for those geographical areas of the state and academic subject areas in which there exist a critical shortage of teachers. The scholarship program shall be implemented and administered by the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning and is subject to the availability of funds appropriated specifically therefor by the Legislature.
(2) Under the assistant teacher scholarship program, qualified assistant teachers may be awarded financial assistance in an amount that is equal to the actual cost of three (3) three-hour academic courses per year. However, no assistant teacher may receive assistance through the program for more than fifteen (15) three-hour academic courses. An assistant teacher scholarship shall not be based upon an applicant's eligibility for financial aid, and the receipt of any other scholarship or financial assistance shall not affect an assistant teacher's eligibility under the program.
(3) In order to qualify for an assistant teacher scholarship, an applicant must satisfy the following requirements:
(a) The applicant must be employed full-time as an assistant teacher with a local school district;
(b) The applicant must be accepted for enrollment at a baccalaureate degree-granting institution of higher learning in the State of Mississippi which is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and approved by the Mississippi Commission on College Accreditation or at any accredited nonprofit community or junior college in the state;
(c) The assistant teacher must maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.5 calculated on a 4.0 scale for all courses funded through the assistant teacher scholarship program; and
(d) The assistant teacher must have expressed in writing a present intention to teach in a critical teacher shortage geographic or academic subject area.
(4) The Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning shall develop a system that provides for the payment of scholarship funds directly to the educational institution at which a recipient of an assistant teacher scholarship is enrolled.
(5) At the beginning of the school year next succeeding the date on which a person who has received an assistant teacher scholarship obtains a baccalaureate degree, that person shall begin to render service as a certificated teacher in a school district or academic subject area, or both, designated by the State Board of Education. The State Board of Education shall establish the duration of teaching service due for recipients of scholarships based upon the number of academic hours funded through the assistant teacher scholarship program. Any person failing to meet teaching requirements shall be liable for the amount of the corresponding scholarship received, plus interest accruing at the current Stafford Loan rate.
SOURCES: Laws, 1996, ch. 452, Sec. 3, eff from and after July 1, 1996