(1)The Administrator shall establish a National Aeronautics and Space Administration Science and Technology Scholarship Program to award scholarships to individuals that is designed to recruit and prepare students for careers in the Administration.
(2)Individuals shall be selected to receive scholarships under this section through a competitive process primarily on the basis of academic merit, with consideration given to financial need and the goal of promoting the participation of individuals identified in section 33 or 34 of the Science and Engineering Equal Opportunities Act (42 U.S.C. 1885a or 1885b).
(3)To carry out the Program the Administrator shall enter into contractual agreements with individuals selected under paragraph (2) under which the individuals agree to serve as full-time employees of the Administration, for the period described in subsection (f)(1), in positions needed by the Administration and for which the individuals are qualified, in exchange for receiving a scholarship.
(b)In order to be eligible to participate in the Program, an individual must—
(1)be enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a full-time student at an institution of higher education in an academic field or discipline described in the list made available under subsection (d);
(2)be a United States citizen or permanent resident; and
(3)at the time of the initial scholarship award, not be an employee (as defined in section
(c)An individual seeking a scholarship under this section shall submit an application to the Administrator at such time, in such manner, and containing such information, agreements, or assurances as the Administrator may require to carry out this section.
(d)The Administrator shall make publicly available a list of academic programs and fields of study for which scholarships under the Program may be utilized and shall update the list as necessary.
(1)The Administrator may provide a scholarship under the Program for an academic year if the individual applying for the scholarship has submitted to the Administrator, as part of the application required under subsection (c), a proposed academic program leading to a degree in a program or field of study on the list made available under subsection (d).
(2)An individual may not receive a scholarship under this section for more than 4 academic years, unless the Administrator grants a waiver.
(3)The dollar amount of a scholarship under this section for an academic year shall be determined under regulations issued by the Administrator, but shall in no case exceed the cost of attendance.
(4)A scholarship provided under this section may be expended for tuition, fees, and other authorized expenses as established by the Administrator by regulation.
(5)The Administrator may enter into a contractual agreement with an institution of higher education under which the amounts provided for a scholarship under this section for tuition, fees, and other authorized expenses are paid directly to the institution with respect to which the scholarship is provided.
(1)The period of service for which an individual shall be obligated to serve as an employee of the Administration is, except as provided in subsection (h)(2), 24 months for each academic year for which a scholarship under this section is provided.
(A)Except as provided in subparagraph (B), obligated service under paragraph (1) shall begin not later than 60 days after the individual obtains the educational degree for which the scholarship was provided.
(B)The Administrator may defer the obligation of an individual to provide a period of service under paragraph (1) if the Administrator determines that such a deferral is appropriate. The Administrator shall prescribe the terms and conditions under which a service obligation may be deferred through regulation.
(1)Scholarship recipients who fail to maintain a high level of academic standing, as defined by the Administrator by regulation, who are dismissed from their educational institutions for disciplinary reasons, or who voluntarily terminate academic training before graduation from the educational program for which the scholarship was awarded, shall be in breach of their contractual agreement and, in lieu of any service obligation arising under such agreement, shall be liable to the United States for repayment within 1 year after the date of default of all scholarship funds paid to them and to the institution of higher education on their behalf under the agreement, except as provided in subsection (h)(2). The repayment period may be extended by the Administrator when determined to be necessary, as established by regulation.
(2)Scholarship recipients who, for any reason, fail to begin or complete their service obligation after completion of academic training, or fail to comply with the terms and conditions of deferment established by the Administrator pursuant to subsection (f)(2)(B), shall be in breach of their contractual agreement. When recipients breach their agreements for the reasons stated in the preceding sentence, the recipient shall be liable to the United States for an amount equal to—
(A)the total amount of scholarships received by such individual under this section; plus
(B)the interest on the amounts of such awards which would be payable if at the time the awards were received they were loans bearing interest at the maximum legal prevailing rate, as determined by the Treasurer of the United States.
(1)Any obligation of an individual incurred under the Program (or a contractual agreement thereunder) for service or payment shall be canceled upon the death of the individual.
(2)The Administrator shall by regulation provide for the partial or total waiver or suspension of any obligation of service or payment incurred by an individual under the Program (or a contractual agreement thereunder) whenever compliance by the individual is impossible or would involve extreme hardship to the individual, or if enforcement of such obligation with respect to the individual would be contrary to the best interests of the Government.
(i)For purposes of this section—
(1)the term “cost of attendance” has the meaning given that term in section 472 of the Higher Education Act of 1965;
(2)the term “institution of higher education” has the meaning given that term in section 101(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965; and
(3)the term “Program” means the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Science and Technology Scholarship Program established under this section.
(1)There is authorized to be appropriated to the Administration for the Program $10,000,000 for each fiscal year.
(2)Amounts appropriated under this section shall remain available for 2 fiscal years.
Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 109–155, § 703(a)(2), substituted “require to carry out this section.” for “require.”
Subsec. (f)(1). Pub. L. 109–155, § 703(a)(3), struck out at end “Under no circumstances shall the total period of obligated service be more than 4 years.”
Subsec. (g)(2). Pub. L. 109–155, § 703(a)(4), substituted a period for a comma at end of subpar. (B) and struck out concluding provisions which read: “multiplied by 3.”
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