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RULE §22.572Institutions

(a) Eligibility. Each institution as defined in §22.571(3) of this title (relating to Definitions) may be eligible to participate in the program, if it meets the criteria in subsection (b) or (c) of this section.

(b) Initial Participation. To qualify as an eligible institution and participate in the T-STEM Program, the institution must:

  (1) Enroll a minimum of 50 students into T-STEM programs, as defined in §22.571(8) of this title, in each academic year; and

  (2) Develop partnerships with business and industry that:

    (A) identify and document local employment needs in the STEM fields; and

    (B) provide part-time employment for students enrolled in a STEM field.

(c) Continuing Participation. An otherwise eligible institution may continue participation in the T-STEM Program, following the first academic year of participation, if the institution documents to the Board that within three months of graduation, at least 70 percent of its T-STEM Challenge Scholarship graduates:

  (1) are employed by a business in a STEM field, or

  (2) are enrolled in upper-division courses leading to a baccalaureate degree in a STEM field.

(d) No institution may, on the grounds of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, or disability exclude an individual from participation in, or deny the benefits of, the program described in this subchapter.

(e) Each eligible institution must follow the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VI (Public Law 88-353) in avoiding discrimination in admissions.

(f) Approval.

  (1) Agreement. Each eligible institution must enter into an agreement with the Board, the terms of which shall be prescribed by the Commissioner.

  (2) Approval Deadline. An institution must be approved in the spring in order for qualified students enrolled in that institution to be eligible to receive grants in the fall of the next fiscal year.

(g) Responsibilities.

  (1) Probation Notice. If the institution is placed on probation by its accrediting agency, it must immediately advise the Board and grant recipients of this condition and maintain evidence in each student's file to demonstrate that the student was so informed.

  (2) Disbursements to Students.

    (A) Documentation. The institution must maintain records to prove the receipt of program funds by the student or the crediting of such funds to the student's school account.

    (B) Procedures in Case of Illegal Disbursements. If the Commissioner has reason for concern that an institution has disbursed funds for unauthorized purposes, the Board will notify the Program Officer and financial aid officer and offer an opportunity for a hearing pursuant to the procedures outlined in Chapter 1 of this title (relating to Agency Administration). Thereafter, if the Board determines that funds have been improperly disbursed, the institution shall become primarily responsible for restoring the funds to the Board. No further disbursements of grants or scholarships shall be permitted to students at that institution until the funds have been repaid.

  (3) Reporting and Refunds.

    (A) Requirements/Deadlines. All institutions must meet Board reporting requirements in a timely fashion. Such reporting requirements shall include reports specific to allocation and reallocation of grant funds (including the Financial Aid Database Report) as well as progress and year-end reports of program activities.

    (B) Penalties for Late Reports or Refunds.

      (i) The Commissioner may penalize an institution by reducing its allocation of funds in the following year by up to 10 percent for each report that is postmarked or submitted electronically more than a week late. The Commissioner may assess more severe penalties against an institution if any report is received by the Board more than one month after its due date.

      (ii) The Commissioner may penalize an institution by reducing its allocation of funds in the following year by up to 10 percent for each late refund of grant funds. If grant funds are returned more than a week after the announced return date, they will be considered late.

      (iii) The maximum penalty for a single year is 30 percent of the institution's grant.

    (C) Appeal of Penalty. If the Commissioner determines that a penalty is appropriate, the institution will be notified by certified mail, addressed to the Program Officer with a copy sent to the financial aid officer. Within 21 days from the time that the Program Officer receives the written notice, the institution must submit a written response appealing the Commissioner's decision, or the penalty shall become final and no longer subject to an appeal. An appeal under this section will be conducted in accordance with the rules provided in Chapter 1 of this title.

  (4) Program Reviews. If selected for such by the Board, participating institutions must submit to program reviews of activities related to the Program.

Source Note: The provisions of this §22.572 adopted to be effective February 28, 2012, 37 TexReg 1337

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