Nebraska Revised Statute 85-1817

Chapter 85

85-1817.

College Savings Plan Low-Income Matching Scholarship Program; established; participation; eligibility; application; State Treasurer; duties.

(1) Beginning January 1, 2022, there is hereby established the College Savings Plan Low-Income Matching Scholarship Program. The purpose of the program is to encourage private contributions to accounts established under the Nebraska educational savings plan trust for the benefit of individuals with limited means. The State Treasurer shall implement and administer the program.

(2) A participant shall be eligible for the program if the beneficiary for whom private contributions are made is part of a family whose household income for the most recently completed taxable year is not more than two hundred fifty percent of the federal poverty level and the beneficiary is a resident of the State of Nebraska.

(3) Applications for participation in the program shall be submitted to the State Treasurer on forms prescribed by the State Treasurer. If the requirements of subsection (2) of this section are met, the State Treasurer shall approve the application and notify the applicant of the approval. The State Treasurer may approve applications until the annual limit provided in subsection (7) of this section has been reached.

(4) Any participant who is approved for the program under subsection (3) of this section must resubmit an application each year thereafter and be reapproved in order to continue participation in the program.

(5) If a participant is approved for the program, any contribution made by such participant under the program shall be matched with scholarship funds provided by the State of Nebraska. The matching scholarship shall be equal to:

(a) One hundred percent of the participant's contribution if the beneficiary for whom the contribution is made is part of a family whose household income for the most recently completed taxable year is more than two hundred percent of the federal poverty level but not more than two hundred fifty percent of the federal poverty level, not to exceed one thousand dollars annually; or

(b) Two hundred percent of the participant's contribution if the beneficiary for whom the contribution is made is part of a family whose household income for the most recently completed taxable year is not more than two hundred percent of the federal poverty level, not to exceed one thousand dollars annually.

(6) Between January 1 and January 31 of each year, the State Treasurer shall transfer the amount necessary to meet the matching obligations of this section for the preceding calendar year, minus the amount of any private contributions received pursuant to subsection (1) of section 85-1815 during the preceding calendar year, from the College Savings Plan Expense Fund or the Unclaimed Property Escheat Trust Fund, as determined by the State Treasurer, to the College Savings Incentive Cash Fund. The State Treasurer shall transfer from the College Savings Incentive Cash Fund to the College Savings Plan Program Fund the amount necessary to meet the matching obligations of this section for the preceding calendar year. The Nebraska educational savings plan trust shall own all scholarships awarded under this section. Neither the participant nor the beneficiary shall have any ownership rights to or interest in, title to, or power or control over such scholarships. Scholarship funds disbursed shall only be used to pay the qualified higher education expenses associated with attending an eligible educational institution located in this state and shall not be used to pay expenses associated with attending kindergarten through grade twelve. Any disbursement of such scholarships shall be made before the beneficiary reaches thirty years of age. Once the beneficiary reaches thirty years of age, any unused scholarship funds shall be transferred to the Meadowlark Endowment Fund.

(7) The State Treasurer may approve a total of two hundred fifty thousand dollars of scholarships each calendar year under the College Savings Plan Low-Income Matching Scholarship Program.