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Students Rally for Need-Based Scholarship Funding

The Prichard Committee Student Voice Team is a group of motivated young Kentuckians who advocate for making students a greater part of education policy discussions. That includes ensuring that college remains an affordable option for high school graduates.

On Thursday team members from around the state trekked to the capitol for a rally and to lobby legislators about university tuitions and need-based scholarships. Eliza Jane Schaeffer, a senior at Lexington’s Henry Clay High School, said it’s important for lawmakers to be able to put the names and faces of real students to the education budget numbers they’re debating.

Schaeffer co-wrote a newspaper article in which she discussed how the state has failed to keep the promise to direct all Kentucky Lottery revenues to education. While merit-based scholarships have been fully funded by the lottery, lawmakers have redirected need-based scholarship money to other budget priorities.

“Last year, 66 percent of the 62,200 qualifying low-income students were denied college scholarships due to a lack of funds,” Schaeffer wrote in the article. “Of those, 15,000 to 20,000 could have received assistance had the need-based scholarships been funded at the statutory level.”

The Student Voice Team is asking legislators to keep what they call the “Powerball Promise” to fund the tuition assistance for low-income students.

Andrew Brennen co-founded the Student Voice Team at the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence in 2012. He’s now the national field director for Student Voice. Brennen said if students are the ones most impacted by education policy decisions made in Frankfort, then their voices should be heard the loudest.

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.