(a) Program participants shall meet all of the following eligibility criteria prior to selection into the program, and shall continue to meet these criteria, as appropriate, during the payment periods:
(1) The participant shall be a United States citizen or eligible noncitizen.
(2) The participant shall be a California resident who, at a minimum, possesses a baccalaureate degree in nursing or a field related to nursing.
(3) The participant shall have complied with United States Selective Service requirements.
(4) The participant shall not owe a refund on any state or federal educational grant or have delinquent or defaulted student loans.
(b) (1) Any person who has obtained a baccalaureate or graduate degree from an institution of postsecondary education, and who is participating in the loan assumption program set forth in this article, may be eligible to receive a conditional loan assumption agreement, to be redeemed pursuant to this chapter upon meeting the criteria of Section 70102.
(2) A person who is currently teaching nursing at a regionally accredited California college or university is not eligible to enter into an agreement for loan assumption under this article.
(c) (1) The commission shall award loan assumption agreements to either of the following applicants who otherwise meet the eligibility criteria of this section:
(A) An applicant who has been admitted to or enrolled in an academic program leading to a graduate level degree and demonstrates academic ability.
(B) An applicant with a baccalaureate, or baccalaureate and graduate degrees.
(2) (A) An applicant who is pursuing a graduate degree shall be enrolled on at least a half-time basis each academic term as defined by an eligible institution and shall agree to maintain satisfactory academic progress.
(B) Except as provided in subparagraph (C), if a program participant fails to maintain half-time enrollment as required by this article, under the terms of the agreement pursuant to subparagraph (A), the loan assumption agreement shall be deemed invalid. The participant shall retain full liability for all student loan obligations. The participant is excused from the half-time enrollment requirement if the student is in his or her final term in school and has no additional coursework required to obtain his or her graduate degree in nursing or a field related to nursing.
(C) Notwithstanding subparagraph (B), a program participant shall be excused from the half-time enrollment requirement for a period not to exceed one calendar year, unless approved by the commission for a longer period, if a program participant becomes unable to maintain half-time enrollment due to any of the following:
(i) Serious illness, pregnancy, or other natural causes.
(ii) The participant is called to military active duty status.
(iii) A natural disaster prevents the participant from maintaining half-time enrollment due to the interruption of instruction at the eligible institution.
(3) The applicant shall have been judged by his or her postsecondary institution or employer, whichever is applicable, to have outstanding ability on the basis of criteria that may include, but need not be limited to, any of the following:
(A) Grade point average.
(B) Test scores.
(C) Faculty evaluations.
(E) Other recommendations.
(4) The applicant shall have received, or be approved to receive, a loan under one or more of the following designated loan programs:
(A) The Federal Family Education Loan Program (20 U.S.C. SEC. 1071 et seq.).
(B) The Federal Direct Loan Program.
(C) Any loan program approved by the commission.
(5) (A) The applicant shall have agreed to teach nursing on a full-time basis at one or more regionally accredited California colleges or universities for at least three years, or on a part-time basis for the equivalent of three full-time academic years, commencing not more than 12 months after obtaining an academic degree, unless the applicant, within 12 months after obtaining the academic degree, enrolls in an academic degree program leading to a more advanced degree in nursing or a field related to nursing.
(B) A participant who possesses a baccalaureate or graduate degree at the time of application to the program shall agree to teach nursing on a full-time or part-time basis commencing not more than 12 months after receiving a loan assumption award.
(6) An applicant who teaches on less than a full-time basis may participate in the program, but is not eligible for loan repayment until that person teaches for the equivalent of a full-time academic year.
(d) A person participating in the program pursuant to this section shall not receive more than one loan assumption agreement, and shall not be eligible to receive a grant pursuant to Article 3.51 (commencing with Section 78260) of Chapter 2 of Part 48.
(Amended by Stats. 2009, Ch. 187, Sec. 5.)
20 USC 1071 et seq.
Education Code 70102
Education Code 78260