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TO AMEND TITLE 2 OF THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY, BY ADDING CHAPTER 77, SO AS TO MAKE CERTAIN LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS AND TO ESTABLISH THE SOUTH CAROLINA HIGHER EDUCATION EQUALIZATION PROGRAM FOR THE PURPOSE OF REQUIRING THE COMMISSION ON HIGHER EDUCATION TO ENTER INTO CONTRACTS WITH PRIVATE, HISTORICALLY BLACK COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES TO BE USED FOR CERTAIN PURPOSES INTENDED TO ENHANCE THE EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES OF LOW-INCOME, EDUCATIONALLY AND SOCIALLY DISADVANTAGED STUDENTS.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. Title 2 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
Section 2-77-10. The General Assembly finds that:
(1) the State of South Carolina has provided financial support to private educational institutions which has resulted in a substantial public benefit;
(2) a significant part of the state mission in education has been to attain equal opportunity in higher education for low-income, educationally and socially disadvantaged students;
(3) private, historically black colleges and universities have played a integral role in offering higher educational access to low-income, educationally and socially disadvantaged students who otherwise might not have been able to obtain a college education;
(4) private, historically black colleges and universities provide a unique educational opportunity for these targeted groups of students by offering flexible admission policies, low tuition rates, and small enrollments to ensure smaller class size tailored to the needs of these targeted students;
(5) private, historically black colleges and universities are limited in their abilities to raise funds from their student populations from tuition and fees because of the demographic profiles of their students and, as a result charge, tuition rates which on average are substantially lower than those charged by other private educational institutions in this State;
(6) the federal government has recognized the unique ability of private, historically black colleges and universities to accomplish the important public benefit of enhancing equal opportunity in higher education for low-income, educationally and socially disadvantaged students; and
(7) public educational assistance made available to the institutions that serve these targeted students provides a direct educational benefit to the students by improving the overall quality of their educational experiences by offering enhanced facilities and improved academic instruction; and
(8) it is necessary that the State of South Carolina partner with the federal government to ensure the continued existence in this State of private, historically black colleges and universities, which provide a substantial public benefit to the State by increasing the number of these targeted students who are better equipped to move into the workforce and with more diverse skills than they would otherwise been able to obtain.
Section 2-77-20. (A) There is hereby established the South Carolina Higher Education Equalization Program for the general purpose of enhancing the educational opportunities of low-income, educationally and socially disadvantaged students. The program must be administered by the Commission on Higher Education. The commission must enter into annual contracts with private, historically black colleges and universities to accomplish the purposes of this program.
(B) The program must be funded annually by appropriations from the Education Lottery Account in an amount provided by the General Assembly.
(C) An institution seeking to be eligible to provide contractual assistance to the commission must submit an annual application to the commission. The commission must certify the eligibility of institutions seeking contracts pursuant to this section. The amount of funding provided by the commission under a contract must be equal for each certified institution.
(D) For purposes of this section, historically black college and university has same the meaning as a Part B institution as defined in Section 1061, Title 20 of the United States Code, as amended.
Section 2-77-30. (A) From amounts made available by the General Assembly, the commission must make grants to institutions which have eligibility certified by the commission for any of the following uses:
(1) purchase, rental, or lease of scientific or laboratory equipment for educational purposes, including instructional and research purposes;
(2) construction, maintenance, renovation, and improvement in classroom, library, laboratory, and other instructional facilities, including purchase or rental of telecommunications technology equipment or services;
(3) support of faculty exchanges, faculty development, and faculty fellowships to assist in attaining advanced degrees in their fields of instruction;
(4) academic instruction in disciplines in which African-Americans are underrepresented;
(5) purchase of library books, periodicals, microfilm, and other educational materials, including telecommunications program materials;
(6) tutoring, counseling, and student service programs designed to improve academic success;
(7) funds and administrative management, and acquisition of equipment for use in strengthening funds management;
(8) joint use of facilities, such as laboratories and libraries;
(9) establishing or improving a development office to strengthen or improve contributions from alumni and the private sector;
(10) establishing or enhancing a program of teacher education designed to qualify students to teach in a public elementary or secondary school in the State that must include, as part of the program, preparation for teacher certification;
(11) establishing community outreach programs to encourage elementary and secondary students to develop the academic skills and the interest to pursue post-secondary education; and
(12) other activities proposed that contribute to carrying out the purposes of this act; and which are approved by the commission as part of the review and acceptance of such application.
(B) Each contracting institution must keep such records as the commission prescribes, including records which fully disclose:
(1) the amount and disposition by each recipient of the proceeds of the assistance;
(2) the cost of the project or undertaking in connection with which the assistance is given or used;
(3) the amount of that portion of the cost of the project or undertaking supplied by other sources; and
(4) such other records as will facilitate an effective audit.
Section 2-77-40. Any funds paid to an institution pursuant to this chapter but not expended or used for the purposes for which the funds were paid within ten years following the date of the initial contract awarded to an institution must be repaid to the general fund immediately upon the expiration of the ten-year period.
Section 2-77-50. The commission must promulgate regulations and establish procedures to administer the provisions of this chapter."
SECTION 2. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.
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