DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
Office of the Secretary
REGULATORY IMPLEMENTING ORDER
1206 Speech Language Pathologist Incentive Loan Program
I. SUMMARY OF THE EVIDENCE AND INFORMATION SUBMITTED
Pursuant to 14 Del.C. §§183 and 3402(c), the Delaware Department of Education (“Department”), acting in cooperation with the Delaware Higher Education Office (“DHEO”), seeks the consent of the State Board of Education to create 14 DE Admin. Code 1206 Speech Language Pathologist Incentive Loan Program. In accordance with 14 Del.C. §181(15), the DHEO administers the Speech Language Pathologist Incentive Loan Program set forth in 14 Del.C. §3422. The regulation is being created to provide eligibility criteria and to delineate the process for applying for the Speech Language Pathologist Incentive Loan Program.
Notice of the proposed regulation was published in the Register of Regulations on January 1, 2020. In addition, notice was published in The News Journal and the Delaware State News on January 1, 2020, in the form hereto attached as Exhibit “A”.
The Department received one written submittal from Chris Manning, Director, Delaware Valley Government Relations, Nemours Children’s Health System (Nemours”). Nemours sought clarification as to whether an applicant for the student loan incentive program must directly provide services to Part C recipients or may be employed by an organization which holds an active contract to provide services to Part C recipients. In addition, Nemours “encourage[d] the state to continue supporting the development of [the] profession” by including “recognition for the variety of settings that employ Speech Language Pathologists, including community and/or health systems in addition to schools.” Nemours “encourage[d] partnership with the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) to analyze areas in particular need of Speech Language Pathology services – including underserved populations or specific geographic areas of the state” so the areas could receive priority or a future loan forgiveness program.
II. FINDINGS OF FACTS
The Department finds further changes in response to Nemours’ written submittal are not necessary. Eligibility for a loan under the Speech Language Pathologist Program is addressed in subsection 4.0 of the proposed regulation. To be eligible for a loan, an applicant must be a Part-Time or a Full-Time Student enrolled in a graduate program in Delaware that will satisfy the educational requirements to become licensed by the Delaware Board of Speech Pathologists, Audiologists, and Hearing Aid Dispensers as a speech/language pathologist; and demonstrate strong academic merit. Forgiveness of a loan is set forth in 14 Del.C. §3422(c). A recipient of a loan may be eligible for forgiveness if the recipient is employed as a licensed speech pathologist in a Delaware public school or by a provider for programs serving infants and toddlers under Part C, Birth to Three Early Intervention Systems, or by a contractor for such programs. Because the criteria for which a loan may be forgiven is in a statute, it is for the General Assembly to determine if there are other employment settings that qualify for forgiveness or to establish a loan forgiveness program for individuals who provide speech language pathology services to underserved populations or geographic areas of the State as analyzed by DHSS. Accordingly, the Department finds that it is appropriate to create 14 DE Admin. Code 1206 Speech Language Pathologist Incentive Loan Program, in the form that was published, in order to provide eligibility criteria and to delineate the process for applying for the Speech Language Pathologist Incentive Loan Program.
III. DECISION TO AMEND THE REGULATION
For the foregoing reasons, the Department concludes that it is appropriate to create 14 DE Admin. Code 1206 Speech Language Pathologist Incentive Loan Program subject to the State Board of Education’s approval. Therefore, pursuant to 14 Del.C. §§183 and 3402(c), 14 DE Admin. Code 1206 Speech Language Pathologist Incentive Loan Program, attached hereto as Exhibit “B,” is hereby created. Pursuant to the provision of 14 Del.C. §122(e), 14 DE Admin. Code 1206 Speech Language Pathologist Incentive Loan Program hereby created shall be in effect for a period of five years from the effective date of this order as set forth in Section V. below.
IV. TEXT AND CITATION
The text of 14 DE Admin. Code 1206 Speech Language Pathologist Incentive Loan Program created hereby shall be in the form attached hereto as Exhibit “B” and said regulation shall be cited as 14 DE Admin. Code 1206 Speech Language Pathologist Incentive Loan Program in the Administrative Code of Regulations for the Department of Education.
V. EFFECTIVE DATE OF ORDER
The effective date of this Order shall be ten (10) days from the date this Order is published in the Delaware Register of Regulations.
IT IS SO ORDERED the 20th day of February 2020.
Department of Education
Susan S. Bunting, Ed.D., Secretary of Education
Approved this 20th day of February 2020
State Board of Education
Whitney Townsend Sweeney, President
Nina Lou Bunting
Audrey J. Noble, Ph.D., Vice President (absent)
Wali W. Rushdan, II
Provey Powell, Jr.
1206 Speech Language Pathologist Incentive Loan Program
The purpose of this regulation is to provide eligibility criteria and application procedures for the Speech Language Pathologist Incentive Loan Program pursuant to 14 Del.C. §3422.
The following words and terms, when used in this regulation, shall have the following meaning unless the context in which they are used clearly indicates otherwise:
“Academic Record” means the applicant’s unofficial transcript from college or graduate school for the most recent academic year.
“Award” means a loan under the Speech Language Pathologist Incentive Loan Program, the repayment of which is forgiven when the borrower is employed as a licensed speech language pathologist in a Delaware public school or by a provider or its contractors for Delaware programs serving infants and toddlers under Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (Birth to Three Early Intervention) for the period of time specified in 14 Del.C. §3422(c)(2).
“Delaware Higher Education Office” or “DHEO” means the Department of Education’s Office which administers specific programs related to higher education, including, but not limited to, scholarship and loan programs.
“Direct Educational Expenses” means tuition, mandatory fees, room, board, books, and supplies.
“Full-Time Student” means a graduate student enrolled in nine (9) or more credit hours.
“Institution” means a post-secondary institution or institution of higher education in Delaware that is accredited, or a candidate for accreditation, by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
“Part-Time Student” means a student enrolled in a graduate program that is at least five (5) and less than nine (9) credit hours per term.
“Student Account Access Site” means the webpage on the DHEO’s website where students can access scholarship and loan forgiveness opportunities.
3.1 The application acceptance and submission period for the Speech Language Pathologist Incentive Loan Program shall be posted on the DHEO's website by April 1 each calendar year.
3.1.1 Applications shall not be accepted outside of the posted application acceptance period under any circumstances.
3.1.2 Incomplete applications shall not be accepted or processed.
3.2 In order for an application to be considered complete, an applicant must:
3.2.1 Submit the applicant's Academic Record to DHEO by mail, fax, or email by the last date of the application acceptance period.
3.2.2 Complete an application through the Student Account Access Site by the last date of the application acceptance period. The application shall include:
18.104.22.168 The applicant’s major, name of the applicant’s Institution, and the school year in which the applicant was most recently enrolled.
22.214.171.124 Applicants may update their enrollment information on the Student Account Access Site through the last date of the application acceptance period.
126.96.36.199 A first time applicant must establish an account and provide his or her valid email address and permanent mailing address before being permitted to submit the information required in subsection 3.2.2 of this regulation.
4.1 Applicants shall meet the following requirements to be considered for the Speech Language Pathologist Incentive Loan Program:
4.1.1 Be either a Part-Time or a Full-Time Student enrolled in a graduate program in Delaware that will satisfy the educational requirements to become licensed by the Delaware Board of Speech Pathologists, Audiologists, and Hearing Aid Dispensers as a speech/language pathologist; and
4.1.2 Demonstrate strong academic merit.
5.1 DHEO determines the number and amount of Awards to be given annually. The number and amount of Awards each year will vary and is based on and subject to the General Assembly appropriating funds for the Speech Language Pathologist Incentive Loan Program.
5.2 An Award shall be used for, and not in excess of, Direct Educational Expenses.
5.3 An Award may be renewed annually for up to two (2) years.
5.3.1 To be eligible to renew an Award, students are required to submit an Academic Record and updated enrollment information by the date required by the DHEO.
5.3.2 An Award may be renewed annually as long as students maintain satisfactory academic progress as defined by the Institution.
5.4 An Award may be pro-rated for Part-Time Students.
6.1 A signed promissory note, which includes the terms of repayment and loan forgiveness, shall be executed before disbursement of funds.
6.2 All payments shall be disbursed directly to the eligible recipient's college or university only.