ASSEMBLY, No. 3221

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

214th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED SEPTEMBER 16, 2010

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman  ANGEL FUENTES

District 5 (Camden and Gloucester)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Establishes the “Domestic Violence Tuition Waiver Program.”

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning tuition costs abatement for victims of domestic violence and supplementing chapter 25 of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.  As used in this act:

     “Documented victim of domestic violence” means a person who is a victim of domestic violence as defined in section 3 of the "Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991," P.L.1991, c.261 (C.2C:25-19) who (1)  has obtained a permanent restraining order against a defendant pursuant to section 13 of the "Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991," P.L.1991, c.261 (C.2C:25-29); and (2)  has obtained a statement from the office of the county prosecutor of the county where the domestic violence is alleged to have occurred that the person is cooperating with the investigating authority in any investigation or prosecution involving a domestic violence offense in which the person is the alleged victim whether or not a temporary restraining order or a criminal conviction has as yet been obtained.

     “Tuition” means the charges imposed by a New Jersey public institution of higher education or county vocational school providing post-secondary vocational education, for enrollment at the institution or school.

 

     2.  The Higher Education Student Assistance Authority shall establish the “Domestic Violence Tuition Waiver Program.”  The purpose of the program is to provide State-paid tuition or tuition abatement to persons who are victims of domestic violence and who, as a result of that victimization, are unable to complete a course of study for which they were previously enrolled at a institution of higher education or county vocational school in this State.

 

     3.  a. A person shall be eligible to qualify for the program if they meet the following requirements at the time of the initial application to the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority for a tuition waiver pursuant to subsection b. of this section:

     (1)   the person is at the time of application qualified for admission to a New Jersey public institution of higher education or county vocational school;

     (2)   the person is a documented victim of domestic violence;

     (3)   within two years from the date of occurrence of the act of domestic violence for which they are a documented victim, the person is seeking to reenroll in the same or substantially similar course of study for which the person was enrolled at the time of the occurrence of the act of domestic violence which resulted in the inability of the person to complete the course;

     (4)   the person submits affidavit evidence and other evidence tending to support the claim that as a result of the act of domestic violence, they were unable to complete the course or courses for which they seek a tuition abatement; and

     (5)   the person submits affidavit evidence and other evidence tending to support the claim that as they are currently or for the time period contemplated, able to complete the course or courses for which they seek reenrollment.

     b.    A person who meets the eligibility requirements listed in this section may apply to the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA) for a tuition waiver in a form and manner prescribed by the authority.

     c.     Upon receipt of an application, (HESAA) shall review the application and if the applicant meets the program eligibility requirements, the authority shall approve the application and notify the appropriate New Jersey public institution of higher education or county vocational school that the person qualifies for a tuition waiver for the course work left incomplete as a result of the incidence of domestic violence.

     d.    Eligibility for the program shall be limited to two years from the date the applicant is notified of acceptance by HESAA for a tuition waiver pursuant to subsection b. of this section.

     e.     No applicant shall be granted more than one tuition abatement.

 

     4.    Rules, regulations.

     Subject to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority shall adopt rules and regulations to effectuate the purposes of this act.

 

5.         This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill directs the establishment of the “Domestic Violence Tuition Abatement Program.”  The purpose of the program is to provide a waiver of all tuition costs to persons who are documented victims of domestic violence, who as a result of the violence, became unable to complete college coursework for which tuition costs had been paid.  The New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA) is directed to establish the program.

     Under the bill, “documented victim of domestic violence” means a person who is a victim of domestic violence as defined in section 3 of the "Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991," P.L.1991, c.261 (C.2C:25-19) who (1)  has obtained a permanent restraining order against a defendant pursuant to section 13 of the "Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991," P.L.1991, c.261 (C.2C:25-29); (2)  has obtained a statement from the office of the county prosecutor of the county where the domestic violence is alleged to have occurred that the person is cooperating with the investigating authority in any investigation or prosecution involving a domestic violence offense in which the person is the alleged victim whether or not a temporary restraining order or a criminal conviction has as yet been obtained.  “Tuition” means the charges imposed by a New Jersey public institution of higher education or county vocational school providing post-secondary vocational education, for enrollment at the institution of school.

     A person is eligible to qualify for the program if certain enumerated criteria are met.  They are:

     (1)   the person is at the time of application qualified for admission to a New Jersey public institution of higher education or county vocational school;

     (2)   the person is a documented victim of domestic violence;

     (3)   within two years from the date of occurrence of the act of domestic violence for which they are a documented victim, the person is seeking to reenroll in the same or substantially similar course of study for which the person was enrolled at the time of the occurrence of the act of domestic violence which resulted in the inability of the person to complete the course;

     (4)   the person submits affidavit evidence and other evidence tending to support the claim that as a result of the act of domestic violence, they were unable to complete the course or courses for which they seek a tuition abatement;

     (5)   the person submits affidavit evidence and other evidence tending to support the claim that as they are currently or for the time period contemplated, able to complete the course or courses for which they seek reenrollment.

     Upon receipt of an application, the bill provides that HESAA shall determine whether the applicant meets the program requirements.  If the requirements are met, HESAA is charged with notifying the appropriate New Jersey public institution of higher education or county vocational school that the person qualifies for a tuition waiver.

     Eligibility under the program is limited to two years from the date the applicant applied for a tuition waiver.  No applicant shall be granted more than one tuition abatement under the bill. 

     Finally, the bill directs the HESAA to promulgate rules and regulations to effectuate the purposes of the bill.