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House Democrats Announce KCTCS Tuition-Free Program

With rows of students, Democratic lawmakers, and education officials as the backdrop, state House Speaker Greg Stumbo announced a plan on Wednesday to give some community and technical college students a break on tuition.

It’s called the Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship Program and it’s patterned after a similar initiative in Tennessee. According to the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, the program is expected to cost about $13 million the first year and close to $20 million the second year.

House Budget Chairman Rick Rand (D-Bedford) said part of the nearly $700 million that Gov. Bevin has proposed to cut from state agencies could go towards the initiative.

Who Qualifies

High school graduates and those who have earned their GED before turning age 19 are eligible for the program. Students must also qualify for in-state tuition, have enrolled in a KCTCS school immediately after high school, carry a course load of at least 12 college-credit hours a semester, keep a 2.0 grade point average or better each semester, and complete the application for federal student aid. The scholarship would end once a student has received money for six semesters, has an associate’s degree, or has been out of high school for four years.

The Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship Program would also benefit students working toward a four-year degree since they can transfer those credits to a state university.

See more about yesterday’s announcement in the state House chamber about the initiative.

Majority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins talked with KET about the program as well as the timeline for delivering the House version of the state budget to the Senate. Democrats want to claim education and workforce development as their banner projects this session.

March 8 is the date for the special elections to fill four vacant state House seats. The outcomes of those contests could impact the balance of power in the chamber, where Democrats now hold a 50 – 46 edge. KET will have coverage of those elections Tuesday night.

Follow @ReneeKET on Twitter for updates throughout the day, and for a recap of the full day’s activities, watch Legislative Update, weeknights at 11 on KET. You can also follow the Kentucky General Assembly on KET’s Legislative Coverage App for your smartphone or tablet.