HBA-KDB H.B. 2898 77(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 2898 By: Burnam Higher Education 3/26/2001 Introduced BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE The employment turnover rate for child protective services caseworkers at the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services (PRS) was 26.5 percent in 2000. This requires PRS to train more caseworkers to fill the open positions, which can be expensive. This high turnover rate and resulting training costs may result in a depletion in funds that PRS could otherwise use for PRS initiatives. House Bill 2898 authorizes the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to provide loan repayment assistance for graduates from accredited social work programs who work for PRS. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that rulemaking authority is expressly delegated to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board in SECTION 1 (Section 61.958, Education Code) and SECTION 2 of this bill. ANALYSIS House Bill 2898 amends the Education Code to require the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (board) to provide assistance in the repayment of education loans for social workers who apply and qualify for the assistance. To be eligible to receive repayment assistance, a person must apply to the board, have graduated from an accredited institution of higher education with a degree in social work, and currently work as a social worker for the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services. The bill authorizes a social worker to receive repayment assistance grants for not more than five years in an annual amount not to exceed 20 percent of the social worker's outstanding education loan amount at the time of the agreement. The bill authorizes the board to provide repayment assistance for the repayment of any education loan received by the social worker while enrolled at an institution of higher education in a degree program in social work. The bill prohibits the board from providing repayment assistance for an education loan that is in default at the time of the social worker's application. The bill requires the board to deliver any repayment assistance in a lump sum payable to the lender and the social worker and in accordance with any applicable federal law. The bill authorizes the board to appoint an advisory committee to assist the board in performing the board's duties in relation to social worker repayment assistance. The bill requires the board to adopt, not later than December 1, 2001, rules necessary for the administration of social worker repayment assistance. EFFECTIVE DATE September 1, 2001.