§18C-9-4. WV Invests Grant Program.

(a) There is hereby created a grant program known as the WV Invests Grant Program, which shall be administered by the vice chancellor for administration in accordance with this article.

(b) The council shall award WV Invests Grants pursuant to the following terms and conditions:

(1) A WV Invests Grant may only be awarded to applicants satisfying the requirements provided in §18C-9-5 of this code;

(2) The maximum amount of a WV Invests Grant shall be the cost of tuition mandatory fees, and academic program fees for coursework leading to completion of the chosen associate degree or certificate, less all other state and federal scholarships and grants for which the student is eligible: Provided, That all academic program fees charged in addition to base tuition must be approved by the Council for Community and Technical College Education to be eligible for the West Virginia Invests Grant as set forth in this article. All other state and federal scholarships and grants for which the grant recipient is eligible shall be deducted from the amount of the WV Invests Grant for each individual student. The amount of a WV Invests Grant at an eligible public baccalaureate institution shall not exceed the average cost of tuition and mandatory fees of the community and technical colleges;

(3) Grant payments shall be made directly to the eligible institutions;

(4) If a grant recipient transfers from one eligible institution to another, the grant is transferable only with approval of the vice chancellor for administration;

(5) A WV Invests Grant may be used at any eligible institution to seek an associate degree or certificate in an eligible post-secondary program. An institution is not required to accept a grant recipient for enrollment and may enforce its own admission requirements, standards, and policies; and

(6) If a WV Invests Grant recipient terminates enrollment for any reason during the academic year, the unused portion of the grant shall be returned by the institution to the council in accordance with the council’s policy for issuing refunds. The council shall transfer such funds to the WV Invests Fund for allocation and expenditure.

(c) On or before January 1 annually, the council shall provide to the Legislature and the Governor a report on the WV Invests Grant Program, which shall include, but not be limited to, research and data concerning student success and grant retention.

(d) The council shall propose legislative rules for legislative approval pursuant to §29A-3A-1 et seq. of this code to implement the provisions of this article, which shall provide for:

(1) Application requirements and deadlines fully implementing requirements of this article;

(2) Appeal procedures for the denial or revocation of the grant; and

(3) Any other provisions necessary to effectuate the purposes of this article.

(e) The Legislature hereby declares that an emergency situation exists and, therefore, the council may establish, by emergency rule, under the procedures of §29A-3A-1 et seq. of this code, a rule to implement the provisions of this article.

(f) Beginning with the 2021 fiscal year, and for every fiscal year thereafter, any appropriation by the Legislature to support and or alleviate the cost to citizens in this state to obtain advanced certifications and associate degrees shall only be distributed to those community and technical colleges or public baccalaureate institutions that form one or more partnerships to establish ACE programs and pathways. Once distributed, such funds may be used to support any eligible post-secondary program or pathway provided by an eligible institution leading to the award of such degree or certification.