Division of Legislative Services > Legislative Record > 2007

Brown v. Board of Education Scholarship Awards Committee

May 16, 2007

The Brown v. Board of Education Scholarship Awards Committee (the Committee) held its first meeting of 2007 on May 16, 2007.

The staff briefed the Committee concerning its work during the previous year, the status of the Fund, the findings and recommendations of the Counseling and Technical Advisory Subcommittee, and the scholarships awarded for the 2006-2007 academic year. Staff reported that the 2007 Fact Sheet, which provides a brief description of the scholarship program, has been revised to reflect statutory changes. The Fact Sheet and the Policies of the Committee, which govern the program, were distributed to all Brown scholarship applicants and recipients, as well as to institutions of higher education that enroll Brown scholars.

Scholarships Awarded in 2006-2007

More than 200 inquiries regarding the scholarship program were received during the 2006-2007 application cycle. Seventy applications were received by the March 31, 2006 deadline. Of this number, 53 applications were approved and 49 disbursements were made on behalf of Brown scholarship recipients for the fall and spring terms. Scholarship recipients are represented at Virginia Community Colleges, public and private institutions of higher education, and public school adult education and GED programs.

The annual maximum tuition award for all students for 2006-2007 was set at $7,200, which included a $900 book allowance. Prior to July 1, 2006, state law provided that an award shall not exceed the costs of tuition, excluding fees, expenses, or other financial requirements levied by institutions and educational programs. However, recent amendments to the enabling legislation permits the Brown v. Board of Education Scholarship Awards Committee to cover the cost of textbooks and expanded the educational opportunities for eligible persons to include nonprofit career and technical education postsecondary schools in the Commonwealth, the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP), dual enrollment programs, and more definitively, transition education programs and services.

The stipulation that awards may be used only to cover the costs of tuition, excluding fees, expenses, or other financial requirements was retained. Funds are disbursed on the basis of credit hour enrollment, not to exceed the annual maximum tuition award for the academic year. Funds may be disbursed to approved institutions and education programs only after recipients have complied with all statutory requirements and Committee policies, and the recipient’s enrollment has been verified by the institution or education program to the State Council of Higher Education. No funds are ever disbursed directly to scholarship recipients.

Currently, as amended, state law now permits the use of the award—one time only—to cover the costs of the program, course materials, and the examinations for the GED and CLEP preparation programs. School divisions enrolling award recipients in public school adult education and literacy programs are reimbursed at a rate equivalent to the highest rate charged for adult education programs by a school division in the Commonwealth for the school year.

A total of $136,773 has been disbursed to date in scholarship funds for the fall and spring terms of 2006-2007. This figure does not include funds expected to be disbursed for recipients who attend the 2007 summer term.

Counseling and Technical Advisory Subcommittee

The Counseling and Technical Advisory Subcommittee considered and made recommendations to the Committee regarding the development of program policies, implementation of transition education programs and services, and delivery of counseling services and information concerning the program to approved education programs and institutions of higher education. The following requirements were recommended and adopted by the Committee:

  • Scholarship applicants with minimum literacy skills complete a transitional education program or services and receive the Literacy Certification prior to enrolling in GED and adult education programs.
  • Transitional education programs and services be designed according to the “career coach” model, and be delivered by regional pilot projects across the state through a network of public schools, institutions of higher education, existing local services and resources, the faith community, retired teachers, community organizations, mentors, and the Literacy Councils.
  • Education programs and institutions enrolling Brown scholars designate a liaison to the Committee.
  • Annual and on-going training, regional workshops, and informational sessions regarding the requirements of the scholarship program be provided to all liaisons of education programs and institutions.
  • Annual regional informational sessions be held for all applicants, recipients, and other interested persons concerning the program.
  • Policies be adopted to govern the program.
  • State-wide publicity to ensure broad diffusion of information regarding the availability of the program to eligible Virginians.

During the meeting, the Subcommittee was directed to develop the design for implementing the transition education programs; schedule regional workshops and training for liaisons, and informational sessions for applicants and recipients; initiate the regional pilot programs; and facilitate collaborative arrangements among public and private entities for the delivery of transitional education programs and services.

Brown v. Board of Education Scholarship Awards Fund

The Committee discussed the initial funding for the scholarship program and non-receipt of the private funds pledged to match the state’s commitment of $1 million in 2004. It also noted an appropriation in the 2006-2008 biennium to provide funds to cover the Committee’s administrative and operational costs associated with its oversight work and the implementation of the scholarship program. Among the identified priorities for 2007 was the need to make a concerted effort to obtain the private funds and to promote public awareness that Virginians may contribute a portion or all of their state tax refund to the scholarship program.

First Graduates of the Scholarship Program

Since the inception of the program, several Brown scholars have completed their individualized goals, some to obtain the GED, career and technical skills training, or associate’s degree, and others to obtain the baccalaureate degree. The following dedicated students were the first graduates of the program, completing the requirements for a bachelor’s degree from Saint Paul’s College in May 2007.

Henry Cabarrus, Jr.
Carl U. Eggleston
Yvonne H. Evans
Nancy Wright Reid
Barbara Hicks Spring
Pauline W. Stokes

2007-2008 Scholarship Awards

The Committee has approved 29 and tentatively approved 15 applications for the 2007-2008 academic year. This total includes new and returning students. Education programs represented among this group include public and private two-year and four-year institutions, GED and public school adult education programs, and CLEP. The annual maximum tuition rate for 2007-2008 was set to correspond to the cost of tuition at each education program or institution, excluding fees and other expenses, plus a book allowance. The deadline for the 2008-2009 application cycle is March 3, 2008.

Next Meeting

The next meeting will be held on July 10, 2007, at the General Assembly Building in Richmond at 10:00 a.m.

The Hon. Benjamin J. Lambert, III

The Hon. Watkins M. Abbitt, Jr.

For information, contact:
Brenda Edwards, DLS Staff


Division of Legislative Services > Legislative Record > 2007

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