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The Florida Statutes

The 2017 Florida Statutes

Title XLVIII
K-20 EDUCATION CODE
Chapter 1004
PUBLIC POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION
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F.S. 1004.6495
1004.6495 Florida Postsecondary Comprehensive Transition Program and Florida Center for Students with Unique Abilities.
(1) SHORT TITLE.This section may be cited as the “Florida Postsecondary Comprehensive Transition Program Act.”
(2) PURPOSE AND LEGISLATIVE INTENT.The purpose of this section is to increase independent living, inclusive and experiential postsecondary education, and employment opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities through degree, certificate, or nondegree programs and to establish statewide coordination of the dissemination of information regarding programs and services for students with disabilities. It is the intent of the Legislature that students with intellectual disabilities and students with disabilities have access to meaningful postsecondary education credentials and be afforded the opportunity to have a meaningful campus experience.
(3) DEFINITIONS.As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Center” means the Florida Center for Students with Unique Abilities established under subsection (5).
(b) “Director” means the director of the center.
(c) “Eligible institution” means a state university; a Florida College System institution; a career center; a charter technical career center; or an independent college or university that is located and chartered in this state, is not for profit, is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and is eligible to participate in the William L. Boyd, IV, Florida Resident Access Grant Program.
(d) “Florida Postsecondary Comprehensive Transition Program Scholarship” or “scholarship” means the scholarship established under this section to provide state financial assistance awards to students who meet the student eligibility requirements specified in subsection (4) and are enrolled in an FPCTP.
(e) “FPCTP” means a Florida Postsecondary Comprehensive Transition Program that is approved pursuant to paragraph (5)(c) and offered by an eligible institution.
(f) “Transitional student” means a student who is 18 to 26 years of age and meets the student eligibility requirements specified in subsection (4).
(4) STUDENT ELIGIBILITY.To be eligible to enroll in an FPCTP at an eligible institution, a student must, as determined by the institution, based on guidelines established by the center:
(a) Be a “student with an intellectual disability” as that term is defined in 20 U.S.C. s. 1140(2), including, but not limited to, a transitional student.
(b) Physically attend the eligible institution.
(c) Submit to the eligible institution documentation regarding his or her intellectual disability. Such documentation may include, but need not be limited to, a current individualized plan for employment associated with a review completed pursuant to s. 413.20(3) or a diagnosis from a physician who is licensed under chapter 458 or chapter 459 or a psychologist licensed under chapter 490.
(5) CENTER RESPONSIBILITIES.The Florida Center for Students with Unique Abilities is established within the University of Central Florida. At a minimum, the center shall:
(a) Disseminate information to students with disabilities and their parents, including, but not limited to:
1. Education programs, services, and resources that are available at eligible institutions.
2. Supports, accommodations, technical assistance, or training provided by eligible institutions, the advisory council established pursuant to s. 383.141, and regional autism centers established pursuant to s. 1004.55.
3. Mentoring, networking, and employment opportunities.
(b) Coordinate, facilitate, and oversee the statewide implementation of this section. At a minimum, the director shall:
1. Consult and collaborate with the National Center and the Coordinating Center, as identified in 20 U.S.C. s. 1140q, regarding guidelines established by the center for the effective implementation of the programs for students with disabilities and for students with intellectual disabilities which align with the federal requirements and with standards, quality indicators, and benchmarks identified by the National Center and the Coordinating Center.
2. Consult and collaborate with the Higher Education Coordinating Council to identify meaningful credentials for FPCTPs and to engage businesses and stakeholders to promote experiential training and employment opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities.
3. Establish requirements and timelines for the:
a. Submission and review of an application.
b. Approval or disapproval of an initial or renewal application.
c. Implementation of an FPCTP, which must begin no later than the academic year immediately following the academic year during which the approval is granted.
4. Administer scholarship funds.
5. Administer FPCTP start-up and enhancement grants. From funds appropriated in the 2016-2017 fiscal year for the FPCTP, $3 million shall be used for such grants. Thereafter, funds appropriated for the FPCTP may only be used for such grants if specifically authorized in the General Appropriations Act. The maximum annual start-up and enhancement grant award shall be $300,000 per institution.
6. Report on the implementation and administration of this section by planning, advising, and evaluating approved degree, certificate, and nondegree programs and the performance of students and programs pursuant to subsection (8).
(c) Create the application for the initial approval and renewal of approval as an FPCTP for use by an eligible institution which, at a minimum, must align with the federal comprehensive transition and postsecondary program application requirements. Notwithstanding the program approval requirements of s. 1004.03, the director shall review applications for the initial approval of an application for, or renewal of approval of, an FPCTP.
1. Within 30 days after receipt of an application, the director shall issue his or her recommendation regarding approval to the Chancellor of the State University System or the Commissioner of Education, as applicable, or shall give written notice to the applicant of any deficiencies in the application, which the eligible institution must be given an opportunity to correct. Within 15 days after receipt of a notice of deficiencies, an eligible institution that chooses to continue to seek program approval shall correct the application deficiencies and return the application to the center. Within 30 days after receipt of a revised application, the director shall recommend approval or disapproval of the revised application to the chancellor or the commissioner, as applicable. Within 15 days after receipt of the director’s recommendation, the chancellor or the commissioner shall approve or disapprove the recommendation. If the chancellor or the commissioner does not act on the director’s recommendation within 15 days after receipt of such recommendation, the comprehensive transition program proposed by the institution shall be considered approved.
2. Initial approval of an application for an FPCTP that meets the requirements of this section is valid for the 3 academic years immediately following the academic year during which the approval is granted. An eligible institution may submit an application to the center requesting that the initial approval be renewed. If the approval is granted and the FPCTP continues to meet the requirements of this section, including, but not limited to, program and student performance outcomes, and federal requirements, a renewal is valid for the 5 academic years immediately following the academic year during which the renewal is granted.
3. An application must, at a minimum:
a. Identify a credential associated with the proposed program which will be awarded to eligible students upon completion of the FPCTP.
b. Outline the program length and design, including, at a minimum, inclusive and successful experiential education practices relating to curricular, assessment, and advising structure and internship and employment opportunities, which must support students with intellectual disabilities who are seeking to continue academic, career and technical, and independent living instruction at an eligible institution, including, but not limited to, opportunities to earn industry certifications, to prepare students for gainful employment. If an eligible institution offers a credit-bearing degree program, the institution is responsible for maintaining the rigor and effectiveness of a comprehensive transition degree program at the same level as other comparable degree programs offered by the institution pursuant to applicable accreditation standards.
c. Outline a plan for students with intellectual disabilities to be integrated socially and academically with nondisabled students, to the maximum extent possible, and to participate on not less than a half-time basis, as determined by the eligible institution, with such participation focusing on academic components and occurring through one or more of the following activities with nondisabled students:
(I) Regular enrollment in credit-bearing courses offered by the institution.
(II) Auditing or participating in courses offered by the institution for which the student does not receive academic credit.
(III) Enrollment in noncredit-bearing, nondegree courses.
(IV) Participation in internships or work-based training.
d. Outline a plan for partnerships with businesses to promote experiential training and employment opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities.
e. Identify performance indicators pursuant to subsection (8) and other requirements identified by the center.
f. Outline a 5-year plan incorporating enrollment and operational expectations for the program.
(d) Provide technical assistance regarding programs and services for students with intellectual disabilities to administrators, instructors, staff, and others, as applicable, at eligible institutions by:
1. Holding meetings and annual workshops to share successful practices and to address issues or concerns.
2. Facilitating collaboration between eligible institutions and school districts, private schools operating pursuant to s. 1002.42, and parents of students enrolled in home education programs operating pursuant to s. 1002.41 in assisting students with intellectual disabilities and their parents to plan for the transition of such students into an FPCTP or another program at an eligible institution.
3. Assisting eligible institutions with FPCTP and federal comprehensive transition and postsecondary program applications.
4. Assisting eligible institutions with the identification of funding sources for an FPCTP and for student financial assistance for students enrolled in an FPCTP.
5. Monitoring federal and state law relating to the comprehensive transition program and notifying the Legislature, the Governor, the Board of Governors, and the State Board of Education of any change in law which may impact the implementation of this section.
(6) INSTITUTION ELIGIBILITY AND RESPONSIBILITIES.
(a) To offer an FPCTP, the president or executive director of an eligible institution, as applicable, must submit to the center, by a date established by the center, the following:
1. An application for approval of a comprehensive transition program proposed by the eligible institution, which must be approved by the institution’s governing board and must address the requirements of the federal comprehensive transition and postsecondary program under 20 U.S.C. s. 1140 and the requirements of this section.
2. Documented evidence that the institution currently offers a federally approved comprehensive transition and postsecondary program that is eligible for federal student aid programs, documented evidence of the submission of an application for such federal approval of a program proposed by the institution, or documentation demonstrating the commitment of the institution’s governing board to submit an application within the subsequent academic year for federal approval of a program pursuant to 20 U.S.C. s. 1140.
(b) An eligible institution may submit an application to the center for approval pursuant to the requirements of this section for implementation of the FPCTP no later than the academic year immediately following the academic year during which the approval is granted. An eligible institution must submit a renewal application to the center no later than 3 years following the year during which the approval is initially granted.
(c) By August 1 of each year, an eligible institution that has an FPCTP shall submit an annual report to the center which, at a minimum, for the prior academic year, addresses the following performance indicators:
1. Efforts to recruit students in the FPCTP and the number of students enrolled in the program.
2. Efforts to retain students in the FPCTP and the retention rate of students in the program.
3. The completion rate of students enrolled in the FPCTP and related courses, as applicable.
4. Transition success of students who complete the FPCTP, as measured by employment rates and salary levels at 1 year and 5 years after completion.
5. Other performance indicators identified by the center pursuant to subsection (8).
(d) An eligible institution shall notify students with intellectual disabilities and their parents of the student eligibility requirements specified in subsection (4) and the scholarship requirements and eligibility requirements specified in subsection (7).
(7) FLORIDA POSTSECONDARY COMPREHENSIVE TRANSITION PROGRAM SCHOLARSHIP.
(a) Beginning in the 2016-2017 academic year, the Florida Postsecondary Comprehensive Transition Program Scholarship is established for students who meet the student eligibility requirements specified in subsection (4), are enrolled in an FPCTP, and are not receiving services that are funded through the Florida Education Finance Program or a scholarship under part III of chapter 1002.
(b) To maintain eligibility to receive a scholarship, a student must continue to meet the requirements of paragraph (a) and must demonstrate satisfactory academic progress in the FPCTP, as determined by the eligible institution that the student attends, based on the indicators identified by the center pursuant to subsection (8).
(c) Payment of scholarship funds shall be transmitted to the director of the center or his or her designee in advance of the registration period. The director or his or her designee shall disburse the scholarship funds to the eligible institutions that are responsible for awarding the scholarship to students who meet the requirements of paragraphs (a) and (b).
(d) During each academic term, by a date established by the center, an eligible institution shall report to the center the number and value of all scholarships awarded under this subsection. Each eligible institution shall also report to the center necessary demographic and eligibility data and other data requested by the center for students who received the scholarship awards.
(e) By a date annually established by the center, each eligible institution shall certify to the center the amount of funds disbursed to each student and shall remit to the center any undisbursed advances by June 1 of each year.
(f) For the 2016-2017 academic year, the amount of the annual scholarship shall be $7,000 for each student who meets the eligibility requirements of subsection (4). Beginning in the 2017-2018 fiscal year, the funding for the program and the annual amount of the scholarship to be provided to a student who meets the eligibility requirements of subsection (4) shall be the amounts specified in the General Appropriations Act. If appropriated funds in any fiscal year are not adequate to provide the maximum allowable award to each eligible student, the awards may be prorated.
(8) ACCOUNTABILITY.
(a) The center, in collaboration with the Board of Governors and the State Board of Education, shall identify indicators for the satisfactory progress of a student in an FPCTP and for the performance of such programs. Each eligible institution must address the indicators identified by the center in its application for the approval of a proposed program and for the renewal of an FPCTP and in the annual report that the institution submits to the center.
(b) By October 1 of each year, the center shall provide to the Governor, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Chancellor of the State University System, and the Commissioner of Education a report summarizing information including, but not limited to:
1. The status of the statewide coordination of FPCTPs and the implementation of FPCTPs at eligible institutions including, but not limited to:
a. The number of applications approved and disapproved and the reasons for each disapproval and no action taken by the chancellor or the commissioner.
b. The number and value of all scholarships awarded to students and undisbursed advances remitted to the center pursuant to subsection (7).
2. Indicators identified by the center pursuant to paragraph (a) and the performance of each eligible institution based on the indicators identified in paragraph (6)(c).
3. The projected number of students with intellectual disabilities who may be eligible to enroll in the FPCTPs within the next academic year.
4. Education programs and services for students with intellectual disabilities which are available at eligible institutions.
(c) Beginning in the 2016-2017 fiscal year, the center, in collaboration with the Board of Governors, State Board of Education, Higher Education Coordinating Council, and other stakeholders, by December 1 of each year, shall submit to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives statutory and budget recommendations for improving the implementation and delivery of FPCTPs and other education programs and services for students with disabilities.
(9) RULES.The Board of Governors and the State Board of Education, in consultation with the center, shall expeditiously adopt any necessary regulations and rules, as applicable, to allow the center to perform its responsibilities pursuant to this section beginning in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.
History.s. 1, ch. 2016-2.