ASSEMBLY, No. 4672

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

220th LEGISLATURE

INTRODUCED SEPTEMBER 29, 2022

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman† DANIEL R. BENSON

District 14 (Mercer and Middlesex)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

†††† Establishes scholarship program for students at public institutions of higher education pursuing certain community service-oriented opportunities; requires Secretary of Higher Education to establish grant program; appropriates $10 million.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

†††† As introduced.

††


An Act establishing a scholarship for community service-oriented programs at public institutions of higher education and making an appropriation.

 

†††† Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

†††† 1.††† a.† The Higher Education Student Assistance Authority, in consultation with the Office of Volunteerism in the Department of State, shall administer a two-year scholarship program for students at public institutions of higher education pursuing opportunities to perform community service. The program shall provide undergraduate students with opportunities to serve in their communities, and address the critical shortage of community service-oriented professionals in those fields of service by:

†††† (1)†† making college more affordable for students who commit to serving in their communities;

†††† (2)†† supporting the education and career development of students pursuing a community service-oriented career in the fields of climate action, K-12 education, and food insecurity; and

†††† (3)†† increasing the workforce and retention of community service-oriented professionals in the fields of climate action, K-12 education, and food insecurity.

†††† b.††† The authority shall award scholarships in the amount of $10,000 to each program participant. To qualify for participation in the scholarship program, a program participant shall:

†††† (1)†† be a resident of the State in accordance with the provisions of N.J.S.18A:71B-2 or be eligible for student financial aid pursuant to P.L.2018, c.12 (C.18A:71B-2.1);

†††† (2)†† be enrolled full-time in an undergraduate degree program at a public institution of higher education;

†††† (3)†† commit to provide a minimum of 15 hours per week in community-based service, particularly in the fields of climate action, K-12 education, or food insecurity, for one full academic year;

†††† (4)†† submit an application to the authority in a manner and on such forms as determined by the authority; and

†††† (5)†† submit a written statement to the authority detailing the candidateís commitment, upon completion of the degree, to full-time employment in a community service-oriented profession related to climate action, K-12 education, or food insecurity in the State.

†††† c.†††† The authority, in consultation with the office, shall select the program participants from among those applicants who meet the criteria set forth in subsection b. of this section, subject to available funds, and may prioritize applicants who demonstrate the greatest financial need.

†††† d.††† Each scholarship awarded under this act shall be contingent upon the program participant remaining in good standing at the public institution of higher education.††††

 

†††† 2.††† a.† The Secretary of Higher Education, in consultation with the Office of Volunteerism in the Department of State, shall establish a two-year Community Service Grant Program. The program shall provide grants to public institutions of higher education to:

†††† (1)†† establish partnerships between the institutions and community-based service organizations that specialize in providing services in the fields of climate action, K-12 education, or food insecurity; and

†††† (2)†† provide undergraduate students with opportunities to serve in their communities, particularly in the fields of climate action, K-12 education, and food insecurity, pursuant to section 1 of P.L.††† , c.††† (C.††††††† ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).

†††† b.††† A public institution of higher education that wishes to participate in the grant program established pursuant to subsection a. of this section shall submit an application to the Secretary of Higher Education in a manner and on such forms as determined by the secretary.†

†††† An application shall include information concerning the institutionís proposed program, including its plan to:

†††† (1)†† partner with specific community-based service organizations that specialize in providing services in the fields of climate action, K-12 education, or food insecurity;

†††† (2)†† promote the ideals and benefits of community-based service, and inform students of opportunities to serve in their communities while earning a scholarship for their service pursuant to section 1 of P.L.††† , c.††† (C.††††††† ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill);

†††† (3)†† provide program participants with academic credit for their participation in the program;

†††† (4)†† ensure program participants attain real-world knowledge and experience in their field of service while serving with the partner community-based service organizations; and

†††† (5)†† provide program participants with access to training, networking, and professional development opportunities during, and upon completion of, their service.

†††† c.†††† After reviewing the applications submitted pursuant to subsection b. of this section, the secretary, in consultation with the office, shall select 10 public institutions of higher education to participate in the program. The secretary shall award a grant in the amount of $100,000 to each grant recipient.

 

†††† 3.††† There is appropriated from the General Fund to the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority the sum of $9,000,000 to provide the scholarships authorized under section 1 of this act, and there is appropriated from the General Fund to the Secretary of Higher Education the sum of $1,000,000 to provide the grants authorized under section 2 of this act.†

 

†††† 4.††† This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

†††† This bill establishes a scholarship program for students at public institutions of higher education, and a grant program for public institutions of higher education, to promote opportunities to perform community service.

†††† Under the bill, the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA), in consultation with the Office of Volunteerism in the Department of State, will administer a two-year scholarship program for students at public institutions of higher education pursuing opportunities to perform community service. The program will provide undergraduate students with opportunities to serve in their communities, and address the critical shortage of community service-oriented professionals in those fields of service by:

        making college more affordable for students who commit to serving in their communities;

        supporting the education and career development of students pursuing a community service-oriented career in the fields of climate action, K-12 education, and food insecurity; and

        increasing the workforce and retention of community service-oriented professionals in the fields of climate action, K-12 education, and food insecurity.

†††† Under the program, HESAA will award scholarships in the amount of $10,000 to each program participant. Under the bill, $9 million will be appropriated to HESAA for the purposes of awarding scholarships.

†††† The bill also requires the Secretary of Higher Education, in consultation with the Office of Volunteerism, to establish a two-year Community Service Grant Program. The program will provide grants to public institutions of higher education to:

        establish partnerships between the institutions and community-based service organizations that specialize in providing services in the fields of climate action, K-12 education, or food insecurity; and

        provide undergraduate students with opportunities to serve in their communities, particularly in the fields of climate action, K-12 education, and food insecurity, to so they can earn scholarships.

†††† Under the bill, an application is required to include information concerning the institutionís proposed program, including its plan to:

        partner with specific community-based service organizations that specialize in providing services in the fields of climate action, K-12 education, or food insecurity;

        promote the ideals and benefits of community-based service, and inform students of opportunities to serve in their communities while earning a scholarship for their service;

        provide program participants with academic credit for their participation in the program;

        ensure program participants attain real-world knowledge and experience in their field of service while serving with the partner community-based service organizations; and

        provide program participants with access to training, networking, and professional development opportunities during, and upon completion of, their service.

†††† The secretary, in consultation with the office, will select 10 public institutions of higher education to participate in the program. The secretary will award a grant in the amount of $100,000 to each grant recipient. Under the bill, $1 million will be appropriated to the secretary for the purposes of this act.