(1) There is established within the Department of Education a scholarship program for the purpose of attracting capable and promising students to the nursing profession.
(2) A scholarship applicant shall be enrolled in an approved nursing program leading to the award of an associate degree, a baccalaureate degree, or a graduate degree in nursing.
(3) A scholarship may be awarded for no more than 2 years, in an amount not to exceed $8,000 per year. However, registered nurses pursuing a graduate degree for a faculty position or to practice as an advanced registered nurse practitioner may receive up to $12,000 per year. These amounts shall be adjusted by the amount of increase or decrease in the Consumer Price Index for 2All Urban Consumers published by the United States Department of Commerce. (4) Credit for repayment of a scholarship shall be as follows:
(a) For each full year of scholarship assistance, the recipient agrees to work for 12 months in a faculty position in a college of nursing or Florida College System institution nursing program in this state or at a health care facility in a medically underserved area as designated by the Department of Health. Scholarship recipients who attend school on a part-time basis shall have their employment service obligation prorated in proportion to the amount of scholarship payments received.
(b) Eligible health care facilities include nursing homes and hospitals in this state, state-operated medical or health care facilities, public schools, county health departments, federally sponsored community health centers, colleges of nursing in universities in this state, and Florida College System institution nursing programs in this state, family practice teaching hospitals as defined in s. 395.805, or specialty children’s hospitals as described in s. 409.9119. The recipient shall be encouraged to complete the service obligation at a single employment site. If continuous employment at the same site is not feasible, the recipient may apply to the department for a transfer to another approved health care facility. (c) Any recipient who does not complete an appropriate program of studies, who does not become licensed, who does not accept employment as a nurse at an approved health care facility, or who does not complete 12 months of approved employment for each year of scholarship assistance received shall repay to the Department of Education, on a schedule to be determined by the department, the entire amount of the scholarship plus 18 percent interest accruing from the date of the scholarship payment. Moneys repaid shall be deposited into the Nursing Student Loan Forgiveness Trust Fund established in s. 1009.66. However, the department may provide additional time for repayment if the department finds that circumstances beyond the control of the recipient caused or contributed to the default.
(5) Scholarship payments shall be transmitted to the recipient upon receipt of documentation that the recipient is enrolled in an approved nursing program. The Department of Education shall develop a formula to prorate payments to scholarship recipients so as not to exceed the maximum amount per academic year.
(6) The Department of Education shall adopt rules, including rules to address extraordinary circumstances that may cause a recipient to default on either the school enrollment or employment contractual agreement, to implement this section.
(7) The Department of Education may recover from the Nursing Student Loan Forgiveness Trust Fund its costs for administering the nursing scholarship program.
1Note.—Section 115, ch. 2012-184, provides that:
“Department of Health; type two transfer.—
“(1) All powers, duties, functions, records, offices, personnel, associated administrative support positions, property, pending issues, existing contracts, administrative authority, administrative rules, and unexpended balances of appropriations, allocations, and other funds relating to the Nursing Student Loan Forgiveness Program and the nursing scholarship program in the Department of Health are transferred by a type two transfer, as defined in s. 20.06(2), Florida Statutes, to the Department of Education.
“(2) The Nursing Student Loan Forgiveness Trust Fund is transferred from the Department of Health to the Department of Education.
“(3) Any binding contract or interagency agreement related to the Nursing Student Loan Forgiveness Program existing before July 1, 2012, between the Department of Health, or an entity or agent of the agency, and any other agency, entity, or person shall continue as a binding contract or agreement for the remainder of the term of such contract or agreement on the successor department, agency, or entity responsible for the program, activity, or functions relative to the contract or agreement.
“(4) Notwithstanding s. 216.292 and pursuant to s. 216.351, Florida Statutes, upon approval by the Legislative Budget Commission, the Executive Office of the Governor may transfer funds and positions between agencies to implement this act.
“(5) The transfer of any program, activity, duty, or function under this act includes the transfer of any records and unexpended balances of appropriations, allocations, or other funds related to such program, activity, duty, or function. Unless otherwise provided, the successor organization to any program, activity, duty, or function transferred under this act shall become the custodian of any property of the organization that was responsible for the program, activity, duty, or function immediately before the transfer.”