20 U.S. Code § 1161q - Grants to rural-serving institutions of higher education

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(a) Purposes
The purposes of this section are—
(1) to increase enrollment and graduation rates of secondary school graduates and nontraditional students from rural areas at two-year and four-year institutions of higher education, and their articulation from two-year degree programs into four-year degree programs; and
(2) to promote economic growth and development in rural America through partnership grants to consortia of rural-serving institutions of higher education, local educational agencies, and regional employers.
(b) Definitions
For the purposes of this section:
(1) Rural-serving institution of higher education
The term “rural-serving institution of higher education” means an institution of higher education that primarily serves rural areas.
(2) Rural area
The term “rural area” means an area that is defined, identified, or otherwise recognized as rural by a governmental agency of the State in which the area is located.
(3) Nontraditional student
The term “nontraditional student” means an individual who—
(A) delays enrollment in an institution of higher education by three or more years after secondary school graduation;
(B) attends an institution of higher education part-time; or
(C) attends an institution of higher education and—
(i) works full-time;
(ii) is an independent student, as defined in section 1087vv of this title;
(iii) has one or more dependents other than a spouse;
(iv) is a single parent; or
(v) does not have a secondary school diploma or the recognized equivalent of such a diploma.
(4) Regional employer
The term “regional employer” means an employer within a rural area.
(c) Partnership
(1) Required partners
A rural-serving institution of higher education, or a consortium of rural-serving institutions of higher education, that receives a grant under this section shall carry out the activities of the grant in partnership with—
(A) one or more local educational agencies serving a rural area; and
(B) one or more regional employers or local boards (as such term is defined in section 2801 of title 29) serving a rural area.
(2) Optional partners
A rural-serving institution of higher education, or a consortium of rural-serving institutions of higher education, that receives a grant under this section, may carry out the activities of the grant in partnership with—
(A) an educational service agency (as defined in section 7801 of this title); or
(B) a nonprofit organization with demonstrated expertise in rural education at the secondary and postsecondary levels.
(d) Grants authorized
(1) In general
From amounts made available under subsection (g), the Secretary is authorized to award grants, on a competitive basis, to eligible rural-serving institutions of higher education or a consortium of such institutions, to carry out the activities described in subsection (f).
(2) Duration
A grant awarded under this section shall be awarded for a period not to exceed three years.
(3) Maximum and minimum grants
No grant awarded under this section shall be less than $200,000.
(4) Special considerations
In awarding grants under this section, the Secretary shall give special consideration to applications that demonstrate the most potential and propose the most promising and innovative approaches for—
(A) increasing the percentage of graduates of rural secondary schools attending rural-serving institutions of higher education;
(B) meeting the employment needs of regional employers with graduates of rural-serving institutions of higher education; and
(C) improving the health of the regional economy of a rural area through a partnership of local educational agencies serving the rural area, rural-serving institutions of higher education, and regional employers.
(5) Limitation
A rural-serving institution of higher education shall not receive more than one grant under this section.
(e) Applications
Each rural-serving institution of higher education desiring a grant under this section shall submit to the Secretary an application at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Secretary may reasonably require.
(f) Required use of funds
A rural-serving institution of higher education that receives a grant under this section shall use grant funds for at least three of the following four purposes:
(1) To improve postsecondary enrollment rates for rural secondary school students at rural-serving institutions of higher education, which may include—
(A) programs to provide students and families with counseling related to applying for postsecondary education, and Federal and State financial assistance for postsecondary education;
(B) programs that provide students and families of rural high schools access and exposure to campuses, classes, programs, and internships of rural-serving institutions of higher education, including covering the cost of transportation to and from such institutions; and
(C) other initiatives that assist students and families in applying for and developing interest in attending rural-serving institutions of higher education.
(2) To increase enrollment rates of nontraditional students in degree programs at rural-serving institutions of higher education, which may include—
(A) programs to provide nontraditional students with counseling related to applying for postsecondary education, and Federal and State financial assistance for postsecondary education;
(B) community outreach initiatives to encourage nontraditional students to enroll in a rural-serving institution of higher education; and
(C) programs to improve the enrollment of nontraditional students in two-year degree programs and the transition of nontraditional students articulating from two-year degree programs to four-year degree programs.
(3) To create or strengthen academic programs at rural-serving institutions of higher education to prepare graduates to enter into high-need occupations in the regional and local economies.
(4) To provide additional career training to students of rural-serving institutions of higher education in fields relevant to the regional economy.
(g) Authorization of appropriations
There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section such sums as many be necessary for fiscal year 2009 and each of the five succeeding fiscal years.

Source

(Pub. L. 89–329, title VIII, § 861, as added Pub. L. 110–315, title VIII, § 801,Aug. 14, 2008, 122 Stat. 3423.)

 

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