Colorado Legislative Council Staff
NO FISCAL IMPACT
January 13, 1999
Janis Baron (303-866-3523)
TITLE: CONCERNING THE CREATION OF AN ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT GRANT PROGRAM.
Summary of Assessment
The bill establishes an Academic Achievement Grant Program for qualified students attending participating institutions of higher education, beginning with the Fall semester 1999, for the high school graduating class of 1999, and includes the following provisions:
• requires the Colorado Commission on Higher Education (CCHE) to identify annually students in each high school graduating class eligible for the grant;
• requires local boards of education to submit to CCHE lists of eligible students as defined by CCHE criteria;
• requires CCHE to send notice of the program to eligible students;
• places requirements on students eligible for the program;
• requires the State Auditor's Office to audit the program at participating institutions biannually;
• requires CCHE, in accordance with the "State Administrative Procedure Act", to promulgate rules necessary to implement the program; and
• requires that moneys for the academic achievement grants be allocated from the Merit-Based Grants line item in the Long Appropriations Bill.
The bill is assessed as having no fiscal impact, no new funding is required to implement the Academic Achievement Grant Program. Although the bill places administrative requirements on local school districts, CCHE, the respective institutions of higher education, and the State Auditor's Office, this fiscal note assumes that any administrative workload can be absorbed within existing resources. The bill requires that the grant awards are to come from moneys appropriated annually to the Merit-Based Grants line item. The appropriation for Merit-Based Grants was $13,417,490 General Fund in FY1998-99.
The bill is effective upon signature of the Governor.
Omissions and Technical or Mechanical Defects
Section 23-3.3-805 of the bill requires CCHE to promulgate rules for the Academic Achievement Grant Program. CCHE indicates that the use of the term "rule" is contrary to its current "policy-making" authority. To date, CCHE has not established rules according to the rule-making process of the "State Administrative Procedure Act".
CCHE indicates that the time frames identified in Section 23-3.3-803 of the bill require institutions to make awards late in the financial aid process; necessitating adjustments in award packages for eligible students. The Hope Tax Credit, available through the federal "Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997", PL 105-34, is effective April 2000 for those students receiving assistance during state fiscal year 1999-00. Thus, it cannot be known in August what credit a family will be eligible for in the 1999 calendar fiscal year. CCHE state that it can comply with the bill only by awarding grants for full tuition and allowable fees, and the Hope Tax Credit will automatically limit the package to tuition and allowable fees as defined by the federal government.