§ 16-57-4. Creation.
(a) There is authorized, created, and established within the office of the commissioner of postsecondary education, a division of higher education assistance hereby granted and authorized to use all of the powers set forth in this chapter for the purposes of guaranteeing eligible loans to students in eligible institutions and to parents of those students and administering other programs of postsecondary student financial assistance assigned by law to the division.
(b) The exercise by the division of the powers conferred by this chapter shall be deemed and held to be the performance of an essential governmental function of the state for public purposes. It is the intent of the general assembly by the passage of this chapter to vest in the office all powers, authority, rights, privileges, and titles that may be necessary to enable it to accomplish the purposes set forth in this section and this chapter, and the powers granted by it shall be liberally construed in conformity with these purposes.
(c) The authority and its corporate existence shall be terminated on July 1, 2015, or upon approval by the U.S. Department of Education, whichever is later, and all its rights and properties shall pass to and be vested in the division of higher education assistance, except as otherwise provided in § 16-57-6.1, and except for any real property held by the authority, the legal title to which is hereby passed to and vested in (in trust for the state) the council on postsecondary education. The division shall continue until terminated by law or until the division shall cease entirely and continuously to conduct or be involved in any business in furtherance of its purposes; provided, that no termination shall take effect so long as the division shall have guaranties or other obligations outstanding, unless adequate provision shall have been made for the payment of the obligations pursuant to the documents securing them or to this law. Upon termination of the existence of the division, all its rights and properties shall pass to and be vested in the state. At no time shall the assets or other property of the division enure to the benefit of any person or other corporation or entity.
(d) Except as provided in § 16-57-6.1, effective July 1, 2015, or upon approval by the U.S. Department of Education, whichever is later:
(i) All functions formerly administered by the Rhode Island higher education assistance authority are hereby transferred to the Rhode Island division of higher education assistance;
(ii) The Rhode Island division of higher education assistance shall assume all rights, duties, assets, liabilities, and obligations of the former Rhode Island higher education assistance authority and the Rhode Island division of higher education assistance shall be considered to be the successor in interest to the Rhode Island higher education assistance authority; and
(iii) All contracts and agreements of whatsoever kind of the Rhode Island higher education assistance authority are hereby assigned, transferred to, and assumed by the Rhode Island division of higher education assistance.
(e) Upon the completion of the transfer, the corporation known as the "Rhode Island higher education assistance authority" shall cease to exist. Whenever in any general law or public law reference is made to the "Rhode Island higher education assistance authority", the reference shall be deemed to refer to and mean the "Rhode Island division of higher education assistance", which also may be referred to as the "division".
(P.L. 1977, ch. 238, § 1; P.L. 1981, ch. 43, § 1; P.L. 2015, ch. 141, art. 7, § 6.)