Florida Senate - 2017                                     SB 274
       By Senator Thurston
       33-00478-17                                            2017274__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to the STEM Teacher Loan Forgiveness
    3         Program; creating s. 1009.641, F.S.; creating the STEM
    4         Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program; requiring the
    5         Department of Education to administer the program;
    6         providing for the funding of the program; specifying
    7         candidate eligibility and the use of program funds;
    8         authorizing the department to recover administrative
    9         costs of the program; providing for rulemaking;
   10         providing an effective date.
   12  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   14         Section 1. Section 1009.641, Florida Statutes, is created
   15  to read:
   16         1009.641 STEM Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program.—
   17         (1) The STEM Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program, administered
   18  by the Department of Education, is established to encourage
   19  qualified college graduates to remain in this state to teach
   20  science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) courses
   21  at public schools.
   22         (2) To be eligible for the program’s incentive, a candidate
   23  must meet all of the following criteria:
   24         (a) Be a graduate of a Florida public postsecondary
   25  education institution that offers 4-year degrees or teacher
   26  certifications.
   27         (b) Hold a valid Florida educator certificate under s.
   28  1012.56.
   29         (c) Be employed by a school district in this state and
   30  assigned to teach a STEM course at a public school in this
   31  state.
   32         (3) After an eligible candidate has completed 8 consecutive
   33  years of employment as a teacher of STEM courses at a public
   34  school in the state, the department may make a loan payment of
   35  up to $16,000 on behalf of the candidate from funds appropriated
   36  for the program. All payments are contingent upon proof of
   37  completion of program requirements and shall be made directly to
   38  the holder of the loan.
   39         (4) The program may cover only those loans used to pay the
   40  costs of tuition, books, and living expenses.
   41         (5) The department may recover from funds appropriated for
   42  the program the costs of administering the program.
   43         (6) The State Board of Education may adopt rules necessary
   44  to administer the program.
   45         Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2017.