|(a) General Information. The program, as it applies to this section: (1) Eligible institutions--Public institutions of higher education that are general academic teaching institutions, other than public state colleges, that are not research universities or emerging research universities. (2) Application requirements--Eligible institutions shall submit one (1) program to the Coordinating Board for consideration. Applications shall be submitted to the Board in the format and at the time specified by the Commissioner. The Board shall approve programs based, in part, upon its determination that institutions have demonstrated the greatest commitment to success in developing or improving, consistent with the mission of the institution, the quality of an existing degree program. (3) General Selection Criteria. The Program is designed to award grants each time a degree program reaches a benchmark developed, approved, and published by the Board. Benchmarks will be developed by one or more persons who have relevant expertise and do not reside in this state. (b) Review Criteria. (1) The Board shall establish a set of benchmarks applicable to each degree program designated by an institution under this grant program. (2) The Commissioner shall select one or more qualified individuals to serve as benchmark developers. Benchmark developers must have relevant expertise and reside outside of the state of Texas. (3) The Board shall approve three benchmarks for each designated degree program unless it determines that a different number of benchmarks is appropriate. (4) The Board shall also approve the associated funding levels for each type of degree program designated by an institution for this grant program. (c) Application and Review Process. (1) The Commissioner may solicit recommendations from eligible institutions each year for the designation of an eligible program. An institution may change its designated program only with the approval of the Board. (2) Each institution with designated benchmarks for a program is responsible for providing to the Commissioner the necessary data or documentation to support attainment of each benchmark in the manner prescribed by the Commissioner. (3) Board staff shall review the provided data or supporting documentation to determine whether or not the institution has met applicable benchmark(s) and is eligible for funding. (d) Funding Decisions. (1) The Board shall approve grants upon the recommendation of the staff's assessment of programs meeting applicable benchmarks. The Commissioner shall report approved grants to the Board for each annual grant period. (2) Institutions may use awards under this grant program only for faculty recruitment or other faculty support with respect to the designated degree program for which the grant is awarded, including establishment of endowed faculty positions or enhancement of faculty compensation as considered appropriate by the institution. (3) Institutions participating in this grant program shall reimburse the Board for the costs incurred by the Board in the administration of this program. The Commissioner shall outline the process and deadline for institutional reimbursement(s) to the Board.