VOLUNTEERS IN SERVICE TO OREGON
As used in Division 75:
(1) "Scholarship Commission" means the Oregon State Scholarship Commission.
(2) "County VISTO Agency" means the organization in each Oregon county recommended by the County Commission and approved by the Scholarship Commission to:
(a) Act as the administrative and information center within the county for the VISTO program;
(b) Certify eligible social service agencies within the county under Scholarship Commission rules and guidelines; and
(c) Allot VISTO voucher authorization to approved social service agencies in the county.
(3) "Eligible Institution" means any educational institution located in Oregon certified as an eligible institution for the student aid programs under Title IV, Part B, of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended.
(4) "VISTO Volunteer" means any resident of Oregon who:
(a) Is not less than 16 but not more than 19 years of age;
(b) Completes community service work in human integration activities for an approved social service agency;
(c) Is, only for the purposes of the VISTO program, an uncompensated volunteer student employee of the Scholarship Commission;
(d) Is enrolled in or plans to enroll in an eligible institution.
(5) "Eligible Social Service Agency" means a nonprofit or governmental social service organization which provides volunteer opportunities in human integration activities and is approved for participation in the VISTO program under Scholarship Commission rules and guidelines.
(6) "Human Integration Activities" includes activities of social service agencies which can be described as providing direct assistance, usefulness or care to another person, including, but not limited to, the following:
(a) Literacy education;
(b) Family or parenting counseling;
(c) Victim advocacy and assistance;
(d) Emergency hotline services;
(e) Tutoring and assistance in Head Start programs; and
(f) Other similar services.
(7) "VISTO" means Volunteers in Service to Oregon.
A VISTO volunteer must be a U.S. Citizen (or be in the United States for other than a temporary purpose and intend to become a permanent resident) and maintain a residence in the State of Oregon.
VISTO Volunteer Eligibility and Limits
(1) A VISTO volunteer shall be awarded VISTO vouchers for human integration activities, except those which are sectarian in nature.
(2) No manager or supervisor of an approved social service agency may award VISTO vouchers to his or her spouse, child, grandchild, brother or sister.
(3) No VISTO volunteer may be an officer or highly compensated employee of an approved social service agency for which volunteer services are performed, or of the Scholarship Commission.
(4) The maximum dollar amount of vouchers which can be earned by a VISTO volunteer during any calendar year shall be the average tuition and fees charged for undergraduate attendance at institutions under the control of the State Board of Higher Education, as determined by the Scholarship Commission, or $5,250, whichever is lesser.
VISTO Volunteer Employee Status
(1) A VISTO volunteer is an uncompensated volunteer student employee of the Scholarship Commission only for the limited purpose of providing a plan of educational assistance under Internal Revenue Code Section 127. A VISTO volunteer is not a state or public employee for any other purpose.
(2) A VISTO volunteer's work is subject to the direction and control of the approved social service agency providing the volunteer with opportunities to engage in human integration activities.
[Publications: The publication(s) referred to or incorporated by reference in this rule are available from the agency.]
A VISTO voucher shall:
(1) Be provided to a volunteer by the Scholarship Commission upon notification by the approved social service agency of receipt of volunteer services;
(2) Be issued with a redemption value of $25, or multiple thereof, with an issue date;
(3) Be non-transferable; and
(4) Expire five years after the date of issue.
Conditions of Voucher Use
A VISTO voucher may:
(1) Be used for any academic period of a fiscal or academic year.
(2) Be used only for payment of undergraduate tuition and fees and are limited in use to a maximum of $5,250 in any academic year.
(3) Not be used to pay tuition and fees for a course of study leading to a degree in theology, divinity or religious education.
(4) Be used only by the VISTO volunteer who received it in recognition of his or her voluntary service.
Social Service Agency Certification
An eligible social service agency may be approved for participation in the VISTO program by the Scholarship Commission upon recommendation of the County VISTO Agency, under Scholarship Commission rules and guidelines, by submission of a Scholarship Commission-approved application which shall include at a minimum the following:
(1) A means to verify the agency's nonprofit or governmental status;
(2) A description of the human integration activities for which the vouchers will be awarded; and
(3) An estimate of the total annual number of hours of human integration activities which could be provided by VISTO volunteers.
Voucher Allocation to Counties
(1) In the initial allocation of State General or Lottery Funds to counties:
(a) The Scholarship Commission shall review information on the geographical distribution of 16 to 19-year-old Oregon residents from the Oregon Center for Population Research and Census each biennium; and
(b) Allocate available state-generated VISTO funds to Oregon counties on a pro-rata basis related to each county's share of residents in this age group; however
(c) No county allocation shall be less than $1,500 in a biennium.
(2) County allocations of state-generated funds may be reduced or increased by the Commission depending upon the utilization of the initial allocation by individual counties.
(3) Non-state-generated funds will be allotted to the county or counties for which they were donated to the Commission for VISTO use. Such funds that are not designated to be used in specific counties may be assigned for use by the Commission.
Voucher Allocation to Agencies
(1) The County VISTO Agency shall review the applications from approved social service agencies and determine the number of vouchers that will be allotted to each agency. This allocation shall be reviewed and may be adjusted on a quarterly basis.
(2) An approved social service agency which receives a VISTO voucher allotment shall report to the County VISTO Agency, on a quarterly basis, the extent to which the VISTO vouchers were issued during the previous quarter.
(3) A County VISTO Agency may:
(a) Reduce an approved social service agency's authorization for any or all of its vouchers for which no service has been rendered; or
(b) Award additional voucher authorization to an approved social service agency.
Voucher Disbursement to Students
An approved social service agency may authorize the Scholarship Commission to award a VISTO voucher to a VISTO volunteer for each eight hours of qualifying service to the agency.
County VISTO Agency Reporting
A County VISTO Agency shall annually submit to the Scholarship Commission a report including, but not limited to, the following information:
(1) A list of approved social service agencies in that county participating in the VISTO program;
(2) The number of VISTO volunteers active in that county;
(3) The types of services performed by VISTO volunteers; and
(4) A narrative as to the effectiveness of the VISTO program.
(1) The total dollar amount of vouchers which may be redeemed at an eligible institution by a VISTO volunteer shall not exceed the total tuition and fees assessed by the school for the educational period (quarter, semester or other period) for which the VISTO volunteer is registering.
(2) A VISTO volunteer may present vouchers for redemption at any eligible institution up to 30 days prior to enrollment in undergraduate work.
(3) An eligible institution shall submit vouchers to the Scholarship Commission for redemption.
(4) The Scholarship Commission shall, within 30 days of submission, validate the vouchers and disburse funds for each VISTO volunteer to the institution.
(5) The eligible institution shall apply the voucher proceeds to amounts owed to the institution for tuition and fees.
The Scholarship Commission may use no more than five percent of the funds made available for the VISTO program for administrative expenses.
Each approved social service agency shall:
(1) Maintain records sufficient to document its activities relating to the VISTO program.
(2) Make its financial and work performance records available to the Scholarship Commission at reasonable times for the purpose of assuring that the social service agency is complying with the rules and guidelines relating to the administration of the VISTO program.
(3) Retain the financial and work performance records relevant to the disbursement of VISTO vouchers for not less than five years following the end of the fiscal year in which that disbursement occurs.
A County VISTO Agency or approved social service agency may appeal to the Scholarship Commission any disagreement it has with a policy or procedure of the Scholarship Commission or its staff. In such a case, the decision of the Scholarship Commission is final unless a court of competent jurisdiction orders to the contrary.