Chapter 25 - Student Financial Aid

Chapter 25 - Student Financial Aid

16.2501 Definitions.

As used in this chapter unless the context otherwise requires:

(a) “Board” means the Student Financial Aid Board.

(b) “Education costs” means those costs of a student’s tuition, laboratory fees, books and supplies, room and board, and college-offered health or hospital insurance coverage.

(c) “Education institution” means an accredited institute of higher learning.

(d) “Financial aid” means a scholarship, grant, loan, or any other monetary assistance provided by the board for postsecondary education pursuant to this chapter.

(e) “Financial need” means need for financial assistance as defined in the federal law at 20 U.S.C. § 1089, as amended, and as further defined by or qualified in the Code of Federal Regulations.

(f) “Full-time student” means a student attending an educational institution taking not less than 12 credit hours per academic term or semester.

(g) “Scholastic achievement” means the results of competitive college entrance examinations. TOEFL the student’s cumulative G.P.A. and other special academic projects completed by the student while attending a secondary educational institution.

(h) “Student” means a person enrolled and regularly pursuing studies at an educational institution.

16.2502 Student financial aid fund established.

A separate, segregated fund known as the “Government of American Samoa Student Financial Aid Fund” is established.

16.2503 Student Financial Aid Board--Members--Term.

(a) A Student Financial Aid Board is established. The Board shall consist of 7 members, 5 members are appointed by the Governor, 2 members are appointed from the Legislature: one from the Senate appointed by the President of the Senate and one from the House appointed by the Speaker of the House; and confirmed by the Legislature. In addition to the 7 appointed Board members, the Director of Education, the Director of the Office of Manpower Resources, and the President of the American Samoa Community College shall serve as ex officio Board members without vote.

(b) The term of office for a member of the Board shall be 4 years and members shall serve until their successors have been qualified. Vacancies shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointments of the members of the Board.

16.2504 Board—Powers—Duties.

(a) The Board shall:

(1) promulgate rules pursuant to 4.1001 et seq. and develop policies necessary to implement this chapter: and

(2) administer the fund established under 16.2502 of this chapter; and

(3) develop with the assistance and approval of the Attorney General a standard and uniform contract for each category of financial aid award; and

(4) administer funds appropriated for purposes of this chapter; and

(5) apply for, receive and administer federal and private funds: and

(6) actively pursue the establishment of cooperative placement programs and financial assistance available from educational institutions; and

(7) cooperate with the Office of Manpower Resources to develop employment opportunities for a student who has received financial aid and who intends to return to the Territory following the student’s graduation from an educational institution: and

(8) consider letters of reference or support from teachers, counselors, principals, employers and other persons with specific knowledge of the student’s character and abilities, before awarding any financial aid; and

(9) submit to the Legislature bi-annual reports detailing the balance in the fund; fund expenditures and receipts for each reporting period; and cumulative fund expenditures and receipts for the fiscal year.

(b) The Board may:

(1) elect a chairman and other officers that are found to be necessary; and

(2) employ with approval of the Governor, personnel necessary to implement this chapter: and

(3) reduce any financial aid except a government scholarship by the amount a student later receives in the form of an extraterritorial scholarship, grant, fellowship or other categorical assistance, provided notice is given the student in the contract authorized under 16.2509.

16.2505 Financial aid--Amount--Exceptions.

Except in the case of a government scholarship, financial aid awarded by the Board must be adequate to meet the educational costs of the student less all other financial assistance available to the student. Government scholarships awarded by the Board under 16.2508 shall not be based upon the financial need of the applicant or other financial assistance available to the applicant.

16.2506 Financial aid—Duration—Renewal— Conditions.

(a) Financial aid shall normally be for one year except when the Board determines the financial aid for a specific student should be of longer or shorter duration.

(b) A student otherwise eligible under this chapter and who complied with the conditions under subsection (c), shall be entitled to priority consideration by the Board when the student applies for a renewal of the financial aid.

(c) Financial aid of any student may be canceled by the Board if the student:

(1) is not a full-time student; or

(2) does not comply with the policy of the educational institution governing overall grade-point averages, including any probationary periods provided by that policy: or

(3) does not authorize the registrar of the educational institution to send a copy of the student’s grade report or transcript to the Board after each academic term or semester; or

(4) transfers to another educational institution without the prior written approval of the Board.

16.2507 Financial aid—Eligibility.

Financial aid may only be awarded to an applicant who:

(a) is a United States national, or a United States citizen, or an American Samoan as defined in 41.0202(l)(c), or a permanent resident of American Samoa in accordance with 41.0401 et seq., or a person legally adopted in accordance with 45.0401 through 45.0431; and

(b) is a legal resident of American Samoa as defined under 6.0212 and in compliance with any applicable immigration laws of the government except that the residence of the parent, parents or legal guardian of a minor shall be presumed to be the legal residence of that minor; and

(c) has been accepted to or is attending an educational institute.

16.2508 Financial aid categories.

(a) The board shall administer the awarding of the following categories of student financial aid:

(1) Scholarships. One category is government scholarships awarded to eligible applicants based solely upon the applicant’s competitive college entrance examination test scores, TOEFL, and G.P.A., without regard to the financial need of the applicant. Government scholarships shall be for uniform amounts, as determined and published by the Board prior to the competitive examinations. An amount not less than 10 percent of the monies available in the fund each year must be allocated by the Board for scholarship awards.

(2) Grants-in-aid. One category is grant-in-aid awarded to eligible applicants pursuing specific areas of study or research which are designated by the Board as areas of particular need and importance in American Samoa. Grants-in-aid shall be awarded upon an applicant’s scholastic achievement and the area of study chosen by the student for pursuit at an educational institution, without regard to financial need.

(3) Student loans. One category is student loans awarded solely on the basis of a student’s financial need. Loans may be paid directly to the student, or to the educational institution, or both, at the discretion of the Board.

(4) Other categories which the Board deems appropriate.

(b) The Board shall establish minimum standards of scholastic achievement for awarding financial aid under this section. The academic standards established for applicants for scholarships shall be at least 10 percent higher than the standards established for applicants for grants-in-aid.

(c) A student may apply for more than one category of financial aid.

16.2509 Financial aid--Contracts--Obligations--Exceptions.

Financial aid must be awarded by written contract except in the case of government scholarships. All contracts for each category of financial aid must contain a uniform condition requiring the repayment of all or part of the financial aid plus reasonable interest. The repayment may be by direct installment payments to the Board for a limited period or by other methods considered proper by the Board. The Board may waive repayment for those persons who become employed by the government or private industry in American Samoa after graduation for a period equal to the number of scholastic years financed by the Board or shorter duration if determined equitable by the Board. Further, the contract with any student who is a government employee shall contain a condition obligating the student to return to government employment for a period of time equal to the time enrolled under this program and which obligates the government to provide employment in or as closely related to as possible that student’s field of study. In addition, the Board may include in any contract with a student those special conditions considered necessary and proper by the Board.

16.2510 Student travel grant.

In addition to the amount of any financial aid, each recipient of financial aid is entitled to air transportation at the standard economy rate for commercial carriers from American Samoa to the educational institute. Return air transportation at the same rate shall be provided under conditions established in rules adopted by the Board.

16.2511 On-island students.

Notwithstanding any provision of this chapter to the contrary, the Board may award financial aid to any person enrolled at the American Samoa Community College. The Board may establish conditions of eligibility by rule to implement this section.

16.2512 Job opportunity reports.

The Office of Manpower Resources and the Office of Economic Development and Planning shall annually supply the Board before 1 February, a list of potential public and private enterprise employment opportunities for college graduates during the remainder of the fiscal year. The Board promptly transmits this information to students receiving financial aid who are expected to graduate before the end of the fiscal year. In addition, every 2 years before 1 February, the Office of Manpower Resources and the Office of Economic Development and Planning shall supply the Board with a report detailing projected public employment and private enterprise employment needs for the next 5 years. The Board promptly transmits copies of this report to all high schools in the Territory, the American Samoa Community College, and students receiving financial aid from the Board.

16.2513 Counseling for applicants for student financial aid--Monitoring of recipients.

(a) The Director, Department of Education shall, upon the request of an applicant for student financial aid, provide individual counseling and assistance regarding the application process and the appropriate category of aid for which an applicant should apply, and shall assist all applicants in obtaining financial aid information from educational institutions.

(b) The Director, Department of Education shall be responsible for monitoring recipients of student financial aid to determine whether a recipient is complying with the conditions in section 16.2506 (c).