Bill Text: TX SB32 | 2021-2022 | 87th Legislature | Introduced


Bill Title: Relating to a student loan repayment assistance program for certain professionals for exceptional service to the State of Texas during the coronavirus pandemic.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2020-11-09 - Filed [SB32 Detail]

Download: Texas-2021-SB32-Introduced.html
  87R3804 TYPED
 
  By: Zaffirini S.B. No. 32
 
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to a student loan repayment assistance program for certain
  professionals for exceptional service to the State of Texas during
  the coronavirus pandemic.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  This Act shall be known as the Thanking Our
  Frontline Heroes Student Loan Relief Act.
         SECTION 2.  Chapter 61, Education Code, is amended by adding
  Subchapter NO to read as follows:
         SUBCHAPTER NO: FRONTLINE WORKERS LOAN REPAYMENT ASSISTANCE
  PROGRAM
         Sec. 61.9961.  DEFINITION. (a) In this subchapter,
  "frontline worker" means any person providing health, education,
  public safety, or other necessary support services related to the
  coronavirus pandemic, as determined by the board.
         (b)  The board, in consultation with relevant state
  agencies, shall develop a list of occupations that can qualify as a
  frontline worker, which shall include:
               (1)  employees of public schools, open enrollment
  charter schools, and private schools;
               (2)  employees of public and private institutions of
  higher education;
               (3)  peace officers;
               (4)  fire fighters;
               (5)  emergency medical technicians;
               (6)  medical professionals, including doctors,
  physician assistants, nurses, nurse practitioners, mental health
  professionals, and hospital support personnel;
               (7)  employees of nursing homes, state supported living
  centers, or similar long-term care facilities;
               (8)  employees of child care facilities;
               (9)  social workers; and
               (10)  members of the Texas military forces, United
  State armed forces, or a reserve component of the armed forces who
  participated in coronavirus-related service.
         Sec. 61.9962.  LOAN REPAYMENT ASSISTANCE AUTHORIZED;
  PURPOSE. The board shall establish and administer a program to
  provide, in accordance with this subchapter and board rules, loan
  repayment assistance in the repayment of eligible loans for
  eligible frontline workers who provided necessary services during
  the coronavirus pandemic.
         Sec. 61.9963.  ELIGIBILITY. (a) To be eligible to receive
  loan repayment assistance under this subchapter, a person must:
               (1)  be a Texas resident at the time of application;
               (2)  for a substantial portion, as determined by board
  rules, of the period between March 15, 2020 and December 31, 2020,
  have been employed as a frontline worker; and
               (3)  submit to the board an application for the loan
  repayment assistance, in the manner and on a form prescribed by the
  board, that requires:
                     (A)  employer verification or other
  documentation, as established by board rule, of the person's
  employment as a frontline worker in the specified period of time;
  and
                     (B)  a statement of the total amount of principal,
  accrued interest, fees, and other charges due on all outstanding
  eligible loans for which the person is applying for repayment
  assistance;
               (4)  have earned a degree or certification from a
  public or private institution of higher education or earned at
  least 30 semester credit hours before the person's initial
  employment as a frontline worker; and
               (5)  comply with any other requirement adopted by the
  board under this subchapter.
         (b)  The board shall establish by rule a time period during
  which applications may be submitted of no less than 90 calendar
  days.
         Sec. 61.9964.  AWARD. (a) Except as provided by this
  section, an eligible person is entitled to receive an amount of loan
  repayment assistance under this chapter payable to the holders of
  the eligible person's eligible loans in an amount equal to the
  lesser of $5,000 or the balance of the total amount stated in the
  person's application under Sec. 61.9963, subject to the amount of
  available funding.
         (b)  An eligible person may receive only one award under this
  subchapter.
         (c)  If the amount of money available for loan repayment
  assistance under this subchapter is insufficient to provide loan
  repayment assistance to all eligible persons, the board shall
  establish criteria to determine the amount of available money to
  allocate to the holders of student loans of eligible persons as the
  board determines appropriate to further the purpose of this
  subchapter.
         (d)  An eligible person whose loan repayment assistance
  under this section is less than the amount necessary to cover the
  amount of principal and interest due on the person's eligible loans
  for the period in which the award is disbursed is responsible for
  the payment of the remainder of the amount due and for otherwise
  preventing a default on the loan.
         Sec. 61.6695.  ELIGIBLE LOANS. (a) The board may provide
  loan repayment assistance under this subchapter for the repayment
  of any student loan received by an eligible person through any
  lender for the cost of attendance at an institution of higher
  education or a private or independent institution of higher
  education.
         (b)  If the loan is not a state or federal guaranteed student
  loan, the promissory note or other loan agreement document
  governing the terms of the loan must require all the loan proceeds
  to be used for expenses incurred by a person in attending an
  institution of higher education or a private or independent
  institution of higher education.
               Sec. 61.9966.  PAYMENT OF LOAN REPAYMENT ASSISTANCE.
  (a) The board shall pay any loan repayment assistance under this
  subchapter in a lump sum delivered on the eligible person's behalf
  directly to the holder of the loan.
         (b)  Loan repayment assistance provided under this
  subchapter may be applied to any amount due on the loan.
         (c)  The board shall attempt to allocate all money available
  to the board for the purpose of providing loan repayment assistance
  under this subchapter.
         Sec. 61.9967.  GIFTS, GRANTS, AND DONATIONS. The board may
  solicit and accept gifts, grants, and other donations from any
  public or private source for the purposes of this subchapter.
         Sec. 61.9968.  RULES; POSTING REQUIRED. (a) The board shall
  adopt rules necessary for the administration of this subchapter.
         (b)  The board shall post on the board's Internet website a
  copy of the rules adopted under this subchapter and information
  regarding the program established under this subchapter.
         (c)  The board may advertise in any available media or
  otherwise promote the loan repayment assistance program to further
  the purposes of this chapter.
         Sec. 61.9969.  EXPIRATION. This subchapter expires December
  31, 2022.
         SECTION 3.  The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board
  shall adopt rules for the frontline workers loan repayment
  assistance program under Subchapter NO, Chapter 61, Education Code,
  as added by this Act, not later than December 1, 2021.
         SECTION 4.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2021.
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