ESC-25-16-00005-E New York State Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Incentive Program  

  • 6/22/16 N.Y. St. Reg. ESC-25-16-00005-E
    NEW YORK STATE REGISTER
    VOLUME XXXVIII, ISSUE 25
    June 22, 2016
    RULE MAKING ACTIVITIES
    HIGHER EDUCATION SERVICES CORPORATION
    EMERGENCY RULE MAKING
     
    I.D No. ESC-25-16-00005-E
    Filing No. 527
    Filing Date. Jun. 06, 2016
    Effective Date. Jun. 06, 2016
    New York State Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Incentive Program
    PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF THE State Administrative Procedure Act, NOTICE is hereby given of the following action:
    Action taken:
    Addition of section 2201.13 to Title 8 NYCRR.
    Statutory authority:
    Education Law, sections 653, 655 and 669-e
    Finding of necessity for emergency rule:
    Preservation of general welfare.
    Specific reasons underlying the finding of necessity:
    This statement is being submitted pursuant to subdivision (6) of section 202 of the State Administrative Procedure Act and in support of the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation’s (“HESC”) Emergency Rule Making seeking to add a new section 2201.13 to Title 8 of the Official Compilation of Codes, Rules and Regulations of the State of New York.
    This regulation implements a statutory student financial aid program providing for awards to be made to students beginning with the fall 2014 term. Emergency adoption is necessary to avoid an adverse impact on the processing of awards to eligible scholarship applicants. The statute provides for tuition benefits to college-going students who, beginning August 2014, pursue an undergraduate program of study in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics at a New York State public institution of higher education. High school students entering college in August must inform the institution of their intent to enroll no later than May 1. Therefore, it is critical that the terms of the program as provided in the regulation be available immediately in order for HESC to process scholarship applications so that students can make informed choices. To accomplish this mandate, the statute further provides for HESC to promulgate emergency regulations to implement the program. For these reasons, compliance with section 202(1) of the State Administrative Procedure Act would be contrary to the public interest.
    Subject:
    New York State Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Incentive Program.
    Purpose:
    To implement the New York State Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Incentive Program.
    Text of emergency rule:
    New section 2201.13 is added to Title 8 of the New York Code, Rules and Regulations to read as follows:
    Section 2201.13 New York State Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Incentive Program.
    (a) Definitions. The following definitions apply to this section:
    (1) “Award” shall mean a New York State Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Incentive Program award pursuant to section 669-e of the New York State education law.
    (2) “Employment” shall mean continuous employment for at least thirty-five hours per week in the science, technology, engineering or mathematics field, as published on the corporation’s web site, for a public or private entity located in New York State for five years after the completion of the undergraduate degree program and, if applicable, a higher degree program or professional licensure degree program and a grace period as authorized by section 669-e(4) of the education law.
    (3) “Grace period” shall mean a six month period following a recipient’s date of graduation from a public institution of higher education and, if applicable, a higher degree program or professional licensure degree program as authorized by section 669-e(4) of the education law.
    (4) “High school class” shall mean the total number of students eligible to graduate from a high school in the applicable school year.
    (5) “Interruption in undergraduate study or employment” shall mean a temporary period of leave for a definitive length of time due to circumstances as determined by the corporation, including, but not limited to, maternity/paternity leave, death of a family member, or military duty.
    (6) “Program” shall mean the New York State Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Incentive Program codified in section 669-e of the education law.
    (7) “Public institution of higher education” shall mean the state university of New York, as defined in subdivision 3 of section 352 of the education law, a community college as defined in subdivision 2 of section 6301 of the education law, or the city university of New York as defined in subdivision 2 of section 6202 of the education law.
    (8) “School year” shall mean the period commencing on the first day of July in each year and ending on the thirtieth day of June next following.
    (9) “Science, technology, engineering and mathematics” programs shall mean those undergraduate degree programs designated by the corporation on an annual basis and published on the corporation’s web site.
    (10) “Successful completion of a term” shall mean that at the end of any academic term, the recipient: (i) met the eligibility requirements for the award pursuant to sections 661 and 669-e of the education law; (ii) completed at least 12 credit hours or its equivalent in a course of study leading to an approved undergraduate degree in the field of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics; and (iii) possessed a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.5 as of the date of the certification by the institution. Notwithstanding, the GPA requirement is preliminarily waived for the first academic term for programs whose terms are organized in semesters, and for the first two academic terms for programs whose terms are organized on a trimester basis. In the event the recipient’s cumulative GPA is less than a 2.5 at the end of his or her first academic year, the recipient will not be eligible for an award for the second academic term for programs whose terms are organized in semesters or for the third academic term for programs whose terms are organized on a trimester basis. In such case, the award received for the first academic term for programs whose terms are organized in semesters and for the first two academic terms for programs whose terms are organized on a trimester basis must be returned to the corporation and the institution may reconcile the student’s account, making allowances for any other federal, state, or institutional aid the student is eligible to receive for such terms unless: (A) the recipient’s GPA in his or her first academic term for programs whose terms are organized in semesters was a 2.5 or above, or (B) the recipient’s GPA in his or her first two academic terms for programs whose terms are organized on a trimester basis was a 2.5 or above, in which case the institution may retain the award received and only reconcile the student’s account for the second academic term for programs whose terms are organized in semesters or for the third academic term for programs whose terms are organized on a trimester basis. The corporation shall issue a guidance document, which will be published on its web site.
    (b) Eligibility. An applicant for an award under this program pursuant to section 669-e of the education law must also satisfy the general eligibility requirements provided in section 661 of the education law.
    (c) Class rank or placement. As a condition of an applicant’s eligibility, the applicant’s high school shall provide the corporation:
    (1) official documentation from the high school either (i) showing the applicant’s class rank together with the total number of students in such applicant’s high school class or (ii) certifying that the applicant is in the top 10 percent of such applicant’s high school class; and
    (2) the applicant’s most current high school transcript; and
    (3) an explanation of how the size of the high school class, as defined in subdivision (a), was determined and the total number of students in such class using such methodology. If the high school does not rank the students in such high school class, the high school shall also provide the corporation with an explanation of the method used to calculate the top 10 percent of students in the high school class, and the number of students in the top 10 percent, as calculated. Each methodology must comply with the terms of this program as well as be rational and reasonable. In the event the corporation determines that the methodology used by the high school fails to comply with the term of the program, or is irrational or unreasonable, the applicant will be denied the award for failure to satisfy the eligibility requirements; and
    (4) any additional information the corporation deems necessary to determine that the applicant has graduated within the top 10 percent of his or her high school class.
    (d) Administration.
    (1) Applicants for an award shall:
    (i) apply for program eligibility on forms and in a manner prescribed by the corporation. The corporation may require applicants to provide additional documentation evidencing eligibility; and
    (ii) postmark or electronically transmit applications for program eligibility to the corporation on or before the date prescribed by the corporation for the applicable academic year. Notwithstanding any other rule or regulation to the contrary, such applications shall be received by the corporation no later than August 15th of the applicant’s year of graduation from high school.
    (2) Recipients of an award shall:
    (i) execute a service contract prescribed by the corporation;
    (ii) apply for payment annually on forms specified by the corporation;
    (iii) confirm annually their enrollment in an approved undergraduate program in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics;
    (iv) receive such awards for not more than four academic years of full-time undergraduate study or five academic years if the program of study normally requires five years, as defined by the commissioner pursuant to article thirteen of the education law, excluding any allowable interruption of study; and
    (v) respond to the corporation’s requests for a letter from their employer attesting to the employee’s job title, the employee’s number of hours per work week, and any other information necessary for the corporation to determine compliance with the program’s employment requirements.
    (e) Amounts.
    (1) The amount of the award shall be determined in accordance with section 669-e of the education law.
    (2) Disbursements shall be made each term to institutions, on behalf of recipients, within a reasonable time upon successful completion of the term subject to the verification and certification by the institution of the recipient’s GPA and other eligibility requirements.
    (3) Awards shall be reduced by the value of other educational grants and scholarships limited to tuition, as authorized by section 669-e of the education law.
    (f) Failure to comply.
    (1) All award monies received shall be converted to a 10-year student loan plus interest for recipients who fail to meet the statutory, regulatory, contractual, administrative or other requirement of this program.
    (2) The interest rate for the life of the loan shall be fixed and equal to that published annually by the U.S. Department of Education for undergraduate unsubsidized Stafford loans at the time the recipient signed the service contract with the corporation.
    (3) Interest shall begin to accrue on the day each award payment is disbursed to the institution.
    (4) Interest shall be capitalized on the day the award recipient violates any term of the service contract or the date the corporation deems the recipient was no longer able or willing to perform the terms of the service contract. Interest on this amount shall be calculated using simple interest.
    (5) Where a recipient has demonstrated extreme hardship as a result of a total and permanent disability, labor market conditions, or other such circumstances, the corporation may, in its discretion, postpone converting the award to a student loan, temporarily suspend repayment of the amount owed, prorate the amount owed commensurate with service completed, discharge the amount owed, or such other appropriate action. Where a recipient has demonstrated in-school status, the corporation shall temporarily suspend repayment of the amount owed for the period of in-school status.
    This notice is intended
    to serve only as a notice of emergency adoption. This agency intends to adopt this emergency rule as a permanent rule and will publish a notice of proposed rule making in the State Register at some future date. The emergency rule will expire September 3, 2016.
    Text of rule and any required statements and analyses may be obtained from:
    Cheryl B. Fisher, NYS Higher Education Services Corporation, 99 Washington Avenue, Room 1325, Albany, New York 12255, (518) 474-5592, email: regcomments@hesc.ny.gov
    Regulatory Impact Statement
    Statutory authority:
    The New York State Higher Education Services Corporation’s (“HESC”) statutory authority to promulgate regulations and administer the New York State Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Incentive Program (“Program”) is codified within Article 14 of the Education Law. In particular, Part G of Chapter 56 of the Laws of 2014 created the Program by adding a new section 669-e to the Education Law. Subdivision 5 of section 669-e of the Education Law authorizes HESC to promulgate emergency regulations for the purpose of administering this Program.
    Pursuant to Education Law § 652(2), HESC was established for the purpose of improving the post-secondary educational opportunities of eligible students through the centralized administration of New York State financial aid programs and coordinating the State’s administrative effort in student financial aid programs with those of other levels of government.
    In addition, Education Law § 653(9) empowers HESC’s Board of Trustees to perform such other acts as may be necessary or appropriate to carry out the objects and purposes of the corporation including the promulgation of rules and regulations.
    HESC’s President is authorized, under Education Law § 655(4), to propose rules and regulations, subject to approval by the Board of Trustees, governing, among other things, the application for and the granting and administration of student aid and loan programs, the repayment of loans or the guarantee of loans made by HESC; and administrative functions in support of state student aid programs. Also, consistent with Education Law § 655(9), HESC’s President is authorized to receive assistance from any Division, Department or Agency of the State in order to properly carry out his or her powers, duties and functions. Finally, Education Law § 655(12) provides HESC’s President with the authority to perform such other acts as may be necessary or appropriate to carry out effectively the general objects and purposes of HESC.
    Legislative objectives:
    The Education Law was amended to add a new section 669-e to create the “New York State Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Incentive Program” (Program). This Program is aimed at increasing the number of individuals working in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in New York State to meet the increasingly critical need for those skills in the State’s economy.
    Needs and benefits:
    According to a February 2012 report by President Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, there is a need to add to the American workforce over the next decade approximately one million more science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professionals than the United States will produce at current rates in order for the country to stay competitive. To meet this goal, the United States will need to increase the number of students who receive undergraduate STEM degrees by about 34% annually over current rates. The report also stated that fewer than 40% of students who enter college intending to major in a STEM field complete a STEM degree. Further, a recent Wall Street Journal article reported that New York state suffers from a shortage of graduates in STEM fields to fill the influx of high-tech jobs that occurred five years ago. At a plant in Malta, about half the jobs were filled by people brought in from outside New York and 11 percent were foreigners. According to the article, Bayer Corp. is due to release a report showing that half of the recruiters from large U.S. companies surveyed couldn’t find enough job candidates with four-year STEM degrees in a timely manner; some said that had led to more recruitment of foreigners. About two-thirds of the recruiters surveyed said that their companies were creating more STEM positions than other types of jobs. There are also many jobs requiring a two-year degree. In an effort to deal with this shortage, companies are using more internships, grants and scholarships.
    The Program is aimed at increasing the number New York graduates with two and four year degrees in STEM who will be working in STEM fields across New York state. Eligible recipients may receive annual awards for not more than four academic years of undergraduate full-time study (or five years if enrolled in a five-year program) while matriculated in an approved program leading to a career in STEM.
    The maximum amount of the award is equal to the annual tuition charged to New York State resident students attending an undergraduate program at the State University of New York (SUNY), including state operated institutions, or City University of New York (CUNY). The current maximum annual award for the 2014-15 academic year is $6,170. Payments will be made directly to schools on behalf of students upon certification of their successful completion of the academic term.
    Students receiving a New York State Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Incentive Program award must sign a service agreement and agree to work in New York state for five years in a STEM field and reside in the State during those five years. Recipients who do not fulfill their service obligation will have the value of their awards converted to a student loan and be responsible for interest.
    Costs:
    a. It is anticipated that there will be no costs to the agency for the implementation of, or continuing compliance with this rule.
    b. The maximum cost of the program to the State is $8 million in the first year based upon budget estimates.
    c. It is anticipated that there will be no costs to Local Governments for the implementation of, or continuing compliance with, this rule.
    d. The source of the cost data in (b) above is derived from the New York State Division of the Budget.
    Local government mandates:
    No program, service, duty or responsibility will be imposed by this rule upon any county, city, town, village, school district, fire district or other special district.
    Paperwork:
    This proposal will require applicants to file an electronic application for each year they wish to receive an award up to and including five years of eligibility. Recipients are required to sign a contract for services in exchange for an award. Recipients must submit annual status reports until a final disposition is reached in accordance with the written contract.
    Duplication:
    No relevant rules or other relevant requirements duplicating, overlapping, or conflicting with this rule were identified.
    Alternatives:
    The proposed regulation is the result of HESC’s outreach efforts to financial aid professionals with regard to this Program. Several alternatives were considered in the drafting of this regulation. For example, several alternatives were considered in defining terms/phrases used in the regulation as well as the academic progress requirement. Given the statutory language as set forth in section 669-e of the Education Law, a “no action” alternative was not an option.
    Federal standards:
    This proposal does not exceed any minimum standards of the Federal Government, and efforts were made to align it with similar federal subject areas as evidenced by the adoption of the federal unsubsidized Stafford loan rate in the event that the award is converted into a student loan.
    Compliance schedule:
    The agency will be able to comply with the regulation immediately upon its adoption.
    Regulatory Flexibility Analysis
    This statement is being submitted pursuant to subdivision (3) of section 202-b of the State Administrative Procedure Act and in support of the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation’s (“HESC”) Emergency Rule Making, seeking to add a new section 2201.13 to Title 8 of the Official Compilation of Codes, Rules and Regulations of the State of New York.
    It is apparent from the nature and purpose of this rule that it will not impose an adverse economic impact on small businesses or local governments. HESC finds that this rule will not impose any compliance requirement or adverse economic impact on small businesses or local governments. Rather, it has potential positive impacts inasmuch as it implements a statutory student financial aid program that provides tuition benefits to college students who pursue their undergraduate studies in the fields of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics at a New York State public institution of higher education. Students will be rewarded for remaining and working in New York, which will provide an economic benefit to the State’s small businesses and local governments as well.
    Rural Area Flexibility Analysis
    This statement is being submitted pursuant to subdivision (4) of section 202-bb of the State Administrative Procedure Act and in support of the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation’s Emergency Rule Making, seeking to add a new section 2201.13 to Title 8 of the Official Compilation of Codes, Rules and Regulations of the State of New York.
    It is apparent from the nature and purpose of this rule that it will not impose an adverse impact on rural areas. Rather, it has potential positive impacts inasmuch as it implements a statutory student financial aid program that provides tuition benefits to college students who pursue their undergraduate studies in the fields of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics at a New York State public institution of higher education. Students will be rewarded for remaining and working in New York, which will benefit rural areas around the State as well.
    This agency finds that this rule will not impose any reporting, record keeping or other compliance requirements on public or private entities in rural areas.
    Job Impact Statement
    This statement is being submitted pursuant to subdivision (2) of section 201-a of the State Administrative Procedure Act and in support of the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation’s Emergency Rule Making seeking to add a new section 2201.13 to Title 8 of the Official Compilation of Codes, Rules and Regulations of the State of New York.
    It is apparent from the nature and purpose of this rule that it will not have any negative impact on jobs or employment opportunities. Rather, it has potential positive impacts inasmuch as it implements a statutory student financial aid program that provides tuition benefits to college students who pursue their undergraduate studies in the fields of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics at New York State public institution of higher education. Students will be rewarded for remaining and working in New York, which will benefit the State as well.

Document Information

Effective Date:
6/6/2016
Publish Date:
06/22/2016