The Vermont Statutes Online
Subchapter 003 : SEPARATE STATE PROGRAMS(Cite as: 33 V.S.A. § 1122)
§ 1122. Postsecondary Education Program
(a) The Commissioner shall establish by rule a solely State-funded program to provide financial assistance equivalent to the Reach Up financial assistance amount the family would receive if it were participating in the Reach Up program and support services to enable parents in eligible families to pursue undergraduate postsecondary degrees in fields directly related to employment.
(b) The Program authorized by this section shall be administered by the Commissioner or by a contractor designated by the Commissioner. The Program shall be supported with funds other than federal TANF block grant funds provided under Title IV-A of the Social Security Act, except that the Commissioner may fund financial assistance grants and support services of families participating in the Postsecondary Education Program with TANF block grant or State maintenance of effort funds when the participating adult's educational activities are a countable work activity under federal law and when it will further one or more of the purposes in subdivision 1121(c)(1) of this title.
(c) Financial eligibility for the Program and the amount of financial assistance shall be determined using Reach Up financial assistance rules. The Commissioner may use Reach Up rules for the Postsecondary Education Program with the exception of rules inconsistent with this section or related to the work requirements.
(d) To be financially eligible to participate in the Postsecondary Education Program, the family's gross income minus the participating parent's earnings shall not exceed 150 percent of the federal poverty level for the appropriate family size.
(e) All financially eligible families who apply to participate in the Postsecondary Education Program will be considered for admission provided that they meet all of the following criteria:
(1) No more than one parent per family may participate at the same time.
(2) If the participating parent is in a two-parent family, the nonparticipating parent shall, if able-to-work, be working full-time; if able-to-work-part-time, shall be working at least the number of hours per week that he or she has been determined able-to-work-part-time; or, if unable-to-work, may be unemployed.
(3)(A) The participating parent has not already received a postsecondary undergraduate degree.
(B) The participating parent has already received a postsecondary undergraduate degree and the occupations for which it prepared the participating parent are obsolete.
(C) The participating parent, due to a disability, is no longer able to perform the occupations for which the degree prepared him or her.
(D) The preparation for occupations that the participating parent received through the postsecondary undergraduate degree is outdated and not marketable in the current labor market.
(4) The participating parent shall be a matriculating student in a two-year or four-year degree program as provided for in the postsecondary education plan.
(5) The participating parent has been determined to be eligible for financial assistance from the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation, and can demonstrate that he or she has the ability to cover tuition costs.
(6) The participating parent agrees to limit employment to no more than 20 hours per week when school is in session. The Department may establish exceptions by rule to allow the participating parent to work more than 20 hours per week.
(7) The family and the participating adult maintain financial eligibility for the program and uninterrupted residency in Vermont for the duration of participation in the Postsecondary Education Program.
(8) The participating parent maintains good academic standing at the college.
(f) Participation in the Program authorized by this section may be denied to parents meeting the eligibility criteria if Program funds are insufficient to allow all eligible applicants to participate. When funds are insufficient to allow all eligible applicants to participate, priority shall be given to those individuals who:
(1) have demonstrated the ability to be successful in college, have already accumulated credits that can be applied to a college degree, and qualify for financial assistance;
(2) have no postsecondary education and qualify for financial assistance;
(3) have demonstrated the ability to be successful in college, have already accumulated credits that can be applied to a college degree, and qualify for services but not financial assistance;
(4) have no postsecondary education and qualify for services but not financial assistance.
(g) Continued participation in the Postsecondary Education Program is contingent on the participating parent:
(1) maintaining compliance with all program criteria in subsections (d) and (e) of this section; and
(2) remaining a member in good standing of the college and making progress toward a degree.
(h) For the purposes of this section:
(1) "Full-time" means 40 hours per week or a position requiring no fewer than 35 hours of work per week that the employer defines as full-time.
(2) "Parent" means a biological parent, stepparent, or adoptive parent who has custody of and resides with a dependent minor child.
(i) The Department shall offer written and verbal information pertaining to postsecondary education to an appropriate Reach Up participant based on the participant's assessment. (Added 1999, No. 147 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. July 1, 2001; amended 2007, No. 30, § 15, eff. May 17, 2007; 2009, No. 156 (Adj. Sess.), § E.323.3; 2013, No. 50, § E.323.5.)