Florida Senate - 2019 SB 914 By Senator Pizzo 38-00940-19 2019914__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to the Educational Dollars for Duty 3 program; amending s. 250.10, F.S.; revising the 4 Educational Dollars for Duty program; revising the 5 ineligibility criteria for members of the Florida 6 National Guard; providing that guard members who have 7 earned certain college degrees before becoming a guard 8 member are eligible for the program; limiting the 9 tuition and fees that the program may cover for 10 doctoral and professional degree programs; providing 11 an effective date. 12 13 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 14 15 Section 1. Paragraphs (b), (c), and (d) of subsection (7) 16 and subsection (8) of section 250.10, Florida Statutes, are 17 amended to read: 18 250.10 Appointment and duties of the Adjutant General.— 19 (7) The Adjutant General shall develop an education 20 assistance program for members in good standing of the Florida 21 National Guard who enroll in an authorized course of study at a 22 public or nonpublic postsecondary institution or technical 23 center in the state which has been accredited by an accrediting 24 body recognized by the United States Department of Education or 25 licensed by the Commission for Independent Education. Education 26 assistance also may be used for training to obtain industry 27 certifications approved by the Department of Education pursuant 28 to s. 1008.44 and continuing education to maintain license 29 certifications. The education assistance program shall be known 30 as the Educational Dollars for Duty program (EDD). 31 (b) The program shall define those members of the Florida 32 National Guard who are ineligible to participate in the program 33 and those courses of study which are not authorized for the 34 program. 35 1. Ineligible members include, but are not limited to, a 36 member, commissioned officer, warrant officer, or enlisted 37 person who has obtained a doctoral or professional
master’s38 degree using the program. 39 2. Inactive members of the Florida National Guard and 40 members of the Individual Ready Reserve are not eligible to 41 participate in the program. 42 3. Courses not authorized include noncredit courses, 43 courses that do not meet degree requirements, courses that do 44 not meet requirements for completion of career training, or 45 other courses as determined by program definitions. 46 4. The program may not pay repeat course fees. 47 (c) The program may include, but is not limited to: 48 1. Courses at a public or nonpublic postsecondary 49 institution or technical center in the state which is accredited 50 by an accrediting body recognized by the United States 51 Department of Education or licensed by the Commission for 52 Independent Education. 53 2. Training to obtain industry certifications, limited to 54 certifications approved by the Department of Education under s. 55 1008.44. 56 3. Continuing education to maintain a license or 57 certification. Notwithstanding subparagraph (b)1., members who 58 have obtained a doctoral or professional master’sdegree using 59 the program are eligible for funding under this subparagraph. 60 4. Licensing and industry certification examination fees. 61 Notwithstanding subparagraph (b)1., members who have obtained a 62 doctoral or professional master’sdegree using the program are 63 eligible for funding under this subparagraph. 64 5. Notwithstanding subparagraph (b)3., developmental 65 educational courses. 66 (d) The Adjutant General shall adopt rules for the overall 67 policy, guidance, administration, implementation, and proper use 68 of the program. Such rules must include, but need not be limited 69 to: 70 1. Guidelines for certification by the Adjutant General of 71 a guard member’s eligibility. Such guidelines must specify that 72 a guard member who has earned an associate, bachelor’s, or 73 master’s degree through the program or before becoming a member 74 of the Florida National Guard is still eligible to participate 75 in the program. 76 2. Procedures for notification to a postsecondary 77 institution or technical center of a guard member’s termination 78 of eligibility. 79 3. Guidelines for approving courses of study that are 80 authorized for the program, including online courses, industry 81 certification training, doctoral and professional courses for 82 such programs, and continuing education to maintain license 83 certifications. 84 4. Guidelines for approving the use of program funds for 85 licensing and industry certification examination fees. 86 5. Procedures for restitution when a guard member fails to 87 comply with the penalties described in this section. 88 6. Procedures that require a public or nonpublic 89 postsecondary institution or technical center that receives 90 funding from the program to provide information regarding course 91 enrollment, course withdrawal, course cancellation, course 92 completion, course failure, and grade verification of enrolled 93 members to the education service office of the Department of 94 Military Affairs. 95 7. Guidelines for the payment of tuition and fees, not to 96 exceed the highest in-state tuition rate charged by a public 97 postsecondary institution in the state. 98 (8) Subject to appropriations, the Department of Military 99 Affairs may pay the full cost of tuition and fees for required 100 courses for current members of the Florida National Guard. 101 However, the department may only pay the tuition and fees for up 102 to 50 percent of the required courses for a doctoral or 103 professional degree program for current members of the Florida 104 National Guard. Members are eligible to use the program upon 105 enlistment in the Florida National Guard. If a member is 106 enrolled in a nonpublic postsecondary education institution or a 107 nonpublic vocational-technical program, the Department of 108 Military Affairs shall pay an amount that may not exceed the 109 rate of the highest in-state tuition and fees at a public 110 postsecondary education institution or public vocational 111 technical program. 112 (a) The Adjutant General shall give preference and priority 113 to eligible members who have deployed on federal military orders 114 while a member of the Florida National Guard. 115 (b) The Department of Military Affairs may reimburse a 116 member for student textbook and instructional material costs in 117 accordance with limits set each fiscal year based on funding 118 availability and regardless of the source of tuition funding, 119 but only after tuition and fees for all eligible members are 120 paid for that fiscal year. 121 (c) Penalties for noncompliance with program requirements 122 include, but are not limited to, the following: 123 1. If a member of the Florida National Guard receives 124 payment of tuition and fees for an academic term and fails to 125 maintain satisfactory participation in the Florida National 126 Guard during that academic term, the member shall reimburse the 127 Department of Military Affairs all tuition charges and student 128 fees for the academic term for which the member received 129 payment. 130 2. If a member of the Florida National Guard leaves the 131 Florida National Guard during the period specified in the 132 member’s enlistment or reenlistment contract, the member shall 133 reimburse the Department of Military Affairs all tuition charges 134 and student fees for which the member received payments, 135 regardless of whether the obligation to reimburse the department 136 was incurred before, on, or after July 1, 2009, unless the 137 Adjutant General finds that there are justifiable extenuating 138 circumstances. 139 3. If the service of a member of the Florida National Guard 140 is terminated or the member is placed on scholastic probation 141 while receiving payments, the member shall reimburse the 142 Department of Military Affairs all tuition charges and student 143 fees for the academic term for which the member received 144 payment. 145 4. If a member defaults on any reimbursement made under 146 this paragraph, the department may charge the member the maximum 147 interest rate authorized by law. 148 Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2019.