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News & Press: Policy Update

General Assembly Wrapping Up, GIVE Act, Homeless Student Assistance Bill

Friday, April 5, 2019  
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111th General Assembly Drawing to a Close

One true sign that the first session of the 111th General Assembly is coming to an end is when standing committees begin to finish their business. This past week several House Subcommittees and a handful of Senate Committees announced that they had reviewed all their bills and were closing. Nearly all the House and Senate Committees have published their final calendars and will be working over the next few weeks to dispense with the remaining bills. Final adjournment is expected to occur in early May.

House Finance Votes to Approve GIVE Act

The House Finance Committee voted to approve Governor Lee’s signature education bill entitled the “Governor’s Investment in Vocational Education Act” or GIVE (SB0805/HB0949). Last week, the Senate Chamber voted 28-0 to approve the initiative. The bill will now go to the House Chamber for a vote on April 10th.

The bill will expand the dual enrollment scholarship aid for students seeking additional vocational training. It is anticipated that the Act will cost around $4 million and will be funded through the lottery proceeds. The House companion bill is scheduled to be heard in the Finance Subcommittee next week.

Currently, the dual enrollment grant covers $500 for the first two courses and $200 for a third. This aid is provided for all high school students seeking college and high school credit. Under the GIVE Act, the dual enrollment grant will cover the first four dual enrollment courses. The funding expansion will be given only to those students enrolling in programs that directly address annually determined workforce needs. The eligible courses will be identified annually by the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation board of directors.

To remain eligible, students must maintain a 2.75 GPA in the postsecondary courses and may take only one course per semester. However, students in their junior or senior years may take more than one dual enrollment course per semester if they have a 21 ACT score and have at least a 3.0 cumulative weighted GPA in high school

Homeless Student Assistance Bill Passes House Education

SB763/HB1000 sponsored by Senator Jeff Yarbro and Rep. Bill Beck would require higher education institutions to designate a staff member as a homeless-student liaison. Students meeting the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. § 11434a(2)) definition are considered independent for the purposes of Title IV student aid.

The bill passed the Senate last week and the House Education Committee this week. It is now slated to be heard by the House Chamber. If passed, it will head to Governor Bill Lee’s desk for his signature.

As noted in previous TICUA Policy Updates, the campus’ designee would provide student aid and housing guidance to students meeting this qualification. The bill requires that homeless students be given priority for available campus housing during enrollment periods and accommodations between enrollment periods if the campuses provides such services.