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NO. 27. AN ACT RELATING TO AN ENDOWMENT TRUST FUND TO PROVIDE FINANCIAL AID TO VERMONT POSTSECONDARY STUDENTS AND INSTITUTIONS.

(H.290)

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1. 16 V.S.A. chapter 90 is added to read:

CHAPTER 90. FUNDING OF POSTSECONDARY INSTITUTIONS

§ 2885. VERMONT HIGHER EDUCATION ENDOWMENT TRUST FUND

(a) A Vermont higher education endowment trust fund is established in the office of the state treasurer to be comprised of the following:

(1) Appropriations made by the general assembly.

(2) In any fiscal year in which a general fund surplus exists and the general fund stabilization reserve is funded to its required statutory level, funds raised by the estate tax levied under chapter 190 of Title 32 which are more than 125 percent of the amount projected by the emergency board in the July annual forecast made pursuant to section 305a of Title 32.

(3) Contributions from any other sources.

(b) The state treasurer may invest the monies in the fund.

(c) In August of each year, beginning in the year 2000, the state treasurer shall withdraw five percent of the assets which were in the fund on the previous June 30, and shall divide the amount equally among the University of Vermont, the Vermont state colleges and the Vermont student assistance corporation. Therefore, up to five percent of the fund assets are hereby annually appropriated pursuant to this section, provided that the amount appropriated shall not exceed an amount which would bring the fund balance below the initial appropriation made in fiscal year 2000. The University of Vermont and the Vermont state colleges shall use the funds to provide nonloan financial aid to Vermont students attending their institutions; the Vermont student assistance corporation shall use the funds to provide nonloan financial aid to Vermont students attending a Vermont postsecondary institution.

(d) In August of each year, beginning in the year 2000, the commission on higher education funding may authorize the state treasurer to make an amount equal to up to two percent of the assets which were in the fund on the previous June 30 available to Vermont public institutions for the purpose of creating or increasing a permanent endowment. Therefore, up to two percent of the fund assets are hereby annually appropriated pursuant to this section, provided that the amount appropriated shall not exceed an amount which would bring the fund balance below the initial appropriation made in fiscal year 2000. One-half of the amount appropriated shall be available to the University of Vermont and one-half shall be available to the Vermont state colleges. The University of Vermont or Vermont state colleges may withdraw funds upon receipt of private donations which are double the amount withdrawn and upon a finding by the commission that the funds will be used to create or increase a permanent endowment.

(e) Annually, the state treasurer shall render a financial report on the receipts, disbursements and earnings of the fund to the commission on higher education funding.

(f) All balances in the fund at the end of any fiscal year shall be carried forward and used only for the purposes set forth in this section. Earnings of the fund which are not withdrawn pursuant to this section shall remain in the fund.

§ 2886. COMMISSION ON HIGHER EDUCATION FUNDING

(a) A commission on higher education funding is created for the purpose of:

(1) developing and, when necessary, refining Vermont's goals for higher education;

(2) developing and, when necessary, updating a multiyear plan to meet Vermont's higher education needs;

(3) annually recommending to the governor a level of state financial support for higher education which best uses state resources to meet the goals developed by the commission;

(4) reviewing expenditures made from the higher education endowment trust fund, evaluating the impact of the expenditures made, and making recommendations to the general assembly for further expenditures from the fund.

(b) The commission shall consist of 14 members as follows:

(1) The president of the University of Vermont;

(2) The president of the Vermont student assistance corporation;

(3) The chancellor of the Vermont State Colleges;

(4) A sitting president of a Vermont state college, appointed by the chancellor in consultation with the governor;

(5) The president of the association of Vermont independent colleges and one sitting president of an independent college, selected by the association in consultation with the governor;

(6) A representative of the Vermont low income advocacy council;

(7) Two members at large appointed by the governor;

(8) Four legislative members, who shall be entitled to per diem expenses from the legislative appropriation, as follows:

(A) Two members from the house appointed by the speaker of the house;

(B) Two members of the senate appointed by the committee on committees;

(9) The secretary of administration.

(c) The executive, legislative and higher education staff shall provide support to the commission as appropriate to accomplish its tasks.

(d) The cost of the commission, including any costs for per diem and expenses for at-large members and the representative of the low income advocacy council, shall be equally apportioned among the following: the administration, the University of Vermont, Vermont state colleges, the Vermont student assistance corporation and the association of Vermont independent colleges.

(e) The commission shall elect one of its members to be chair.

Sec. 2. 10 V.S.A. § 541 is amended to read:

§ 541. HUMAN RESOURCES INVESTMENT COUNCIL; STATE

WORKFORCE INVESTMENT BOARD; MEMBERS; TERMS

(a) The human resources investment council is created as the successor to and the continuation of the governor's human resources investment council and shall be the state workforce investment board under Public Law 105-220, the Workforce Investment Act of 1998. The council shall consist of the following members: the governor, the commissioner of employment and training, the chancellor of Vermont state colleges, the president of the University of Vermont, the secretary of human services, *[the commissioner of agriculture, food and markets, one member representing independent colleges appointed by the governor]* the president of the association of Vermont independent colleges, the secretary of commerce and community development, the commissioner of education, *[the commissioner of labor and industry, five representatives of business appointed by the governor and representing as much as possible the diversity of business interests within the state, five]* the director of Vermont associates for training and development, the president of the Vermont student assistance corporation, the director of the Vermont jobs corps center, at least four representatives of labor appointed by the governor, at least one of which shall be from names submitted by labor organizations, one representative of the low income community appointed by the governor, *[one member]* two members of the senate appointed by the senate committee on committees, *[one member]* and two members of the house appointed by the speaker*[, and one representative of the office of the governor appointed by the governor]*. In addition, the governor shall appoint enough other members who are representatives of business or employers so that one-half plus one of the members of the council are representatives of business or employers. At least one-third of those appointed by the governor as representatives of business or employers shall be chosen from a list submitted by the regional workforce investment boards. In this section, "representative of business" means a business owner, a chief executive operating officer or other business executive and "employer" means an individual with policy-making or hiring authority, including a public school superintendent or school board member and including the nonprofit, social services and health sectors of the economy.

(b) Members representing business, employers, labor and the low income community shall be appointed for terms of three years. Appointed members, except legislative appointees, shall serve at the pleasure of the governor.

(c) A vacancy shall be filled for the unexpired term in the same manner as the initial appointment.

(d) *[The chancellor of Vermont state colleges, representing the Vermont higher education council, and the commissioner of employment and training shall be co-chairs of the council and shall jointly appoint all staff of the council.]* The governor shall appoint one of the business or employer members to chair the council.

* * *

(h) The human resources investment council shall:

(1) Advise the governor on *[Vermont's work force]* the establishment of an integrated network of workforce education and training *[system]* for Vermont.

(2) Coordinate planning and services for *[Vermont's work force]* an integrated network of workforce education and training *[system]*, and oversee its implementation.

(3) Establish and oversee *[work force]* workforce investment boards as provided in section 542 of this title.

(4) Establish goals for and coordinate the state's *[work force]* workforce education and training policies.

(5) Appoint an executive director, who shall be an exempt employee.

(6) Receive annual reports from the legislative joint fiscal office on the workforce education and training revenues and expenditures of agencies and institutions which are members of the council.

(7) Annually review and comment on workforce education and training revenues and expenditures of member agencies and institutions.

(8) Negotiate memoranda of understanding between the council and agencies and institutions involved in Vermont's integrated network of workforce education and training in order to ensure that each is working to achieve annual objectives developed by the council.

(9) Carry out the duties assigned to the state workforce investment board, as required for a single-service delivery state, under P.L. 105-220, the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 and any amendments that may be made to it.

(10) Annually, on or before January 15, report to the general assembly on activities carried out during the previous year in order to accomplish its mandate.

Sec. 3. 10 V.S.A. § 542 is amended to read:

§ 542. *[WORK FORCE]* REGIONAL WORKFORCE INVESTMENT

BOARDS

(a) At the request of a regional group recognized by the council as interested in *[work force]* workforce training, the human resources investment council shall establish a regional *[work force]* workforce investment board in the region. *[Work force]* Regional workforce investment boards shall act with oversight from the human resources investment council.

(b) Members of each *[work force]* regional workforce investment board shall *[be approved by the human resources investment council from a slate of nominees submitted by a regional group recognized by the council as interested in work force training. In approving members, the council shall ensure a balance between employers, employees and work force program providers, but shall also ensure that employer and employee interests predominate. Members may]* include individuals or representatives of employers and employees from large and small businesses, secondary and post-secondary educational institutions, regional technical centers, economic development organizations, *[work force]* workforce education and training organizations, and public agencies with work force education and training responsibilities. The human resources investment council shall review the regional workforce investment board membership to ensure a balance between employers, employees and workforce program providers with 51 percent of membership representing employers. Members shall not receive compensation or reimbursement for expenses.

(c) Each *[work force]* regional workforce investment board may:

(1) Coordinate a delivery system of *[work force]* workforce education and training services that is responsive to the needs of employers, employees and individuals interested in receiving *[work force]* workforce training and is consistent with policies established by the human resources investment council. The system shall avoid duplication of services among *[work force ]*workforce education and training programs and service providers.

(2) Perform periodic regional needs assessments and establish priorities for regional *[work force]* workforce development, and report on such assessments and priorities to the human resources investment council.

(3) Determine whether each program and provider collaborates and coordinates its activities with other programs.

(4) Review and endorse requests by *[work force]* workforce programs and providers for waivers of state and federal regulations in support of high performance, if such requests are consistent with the goals of the statewide *[work force]* integrated network of workforce education and training *[system]* as established by the human resources investment council.

(5) Ensure the most effective use of funds by encouraging collaborative work on budget preparation and grant proposals submitted by programs and providers.

(6) Encourage partnerships with businesses and providers to develop new education and training opportunities that meet regional labor market needs and that are consistent with policies established by the human resources investment council.

(7) *[Coordinate the]* Continue to support school-to-work efforts through a youth council and integrate school-to-work, and welfare reform initiatives so that these initiatives are integrated into the *[work force]* workforce education and training system.

(8) *[Coordinate service delivery by regional work force education and training providers, including one-stop-shopping career centers]* Develop an integrated network of service providers including department of employment and training career resource centers consistent with policies established by the human resources investment council.

(9) Maintain a process for sharing information about program needs and opportunities among programs, providers, employers and the general public.

(10) Coordinate the dissemination of, and assure access to pertinent labor market information.

(11) Coordinate the dissemination of, and assure access to pertinent *[work force]* workforce education and training program and services information for individuals and businesses.

(12) Explore new ideas and models *[for programs]* that advance policies established by the human resources investment council, and act as a clearinghouse for all providers and programs in the region.

(13) Ensure that new program ideas complement the goals of the human resources investment council including the goal of *[developing a coordinated system of]* *[work force]* an integrated network of workforce education and training.

(14) Conduct an inventory of businesses for potential alternate learning environments.

(15) Advise the human resources investment council about standards and procedures for a uniform accountability and information data base for programs and providers.

(16) Perform such other duties identified by the human resources investment council to be necessary or desirable in carrying out the purposes of this chapter.

(d) Each work force investment board shall report to the human resources investment council in the manner described by the council.

Sec. 4. FEDERAL FAMILY EDUCATION LOAN PROGRAM;

PARTICIPATION BY VERMONT STUDENTS ENROLLED IN

HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS; STUDY

The commission on higher education funding shall study the effects of allowing Vermont students the option to borrow from the Federal Family Education Loan Program administered by the Vermont student assistance corporation on students and on administration of loan programs. On or before February 1, 2000, the commission shall report its findings to the general assembly.

Sec. 5. EFFECTIVE DATES

(a) Secs. 2 and 3 of this act shall take effect on passage. The remaining sections shall take effect on July 1, 1999.

(b) Fiscal year 2000 shall be the first year in which funds raised by the estate tax are eligible for payment to the Vermont Higher Education Endowment Trust Fund pursuant to subdivision 2885(a)(2) of Title 16.

Approved: May 19, 1999