House education bill which would allow KEES money to be used in apprenticeship programs passes Senate committee

03/29/2017 04:53 PM

FRANKFORT – Legislation which would allow Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarships (KEES) money to be used by students in apprenticeship programs was unanimously passed by the Senate Committee on Education on Wednesday.

House Bill 206, sponsored by Rep. Bam Carney, R-Campbellsville, would also set up a system which would allow the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA) to administer the dual credit scholarship program.

Carney says the biggest point of his legislation is that it mainstreams the program, putting less pressure on the high schools, and returning money to the student.

“The money was going to the high school and they were trying to work out contracts,” Carney said. “This will set it up basically where it goes to the student again and on to the college through KHEEA, more like our other financial aid programs. I think it’s going to be a huge benefit to one, our students, first off, but also I think it’s going to help our high schools, take off a little bit of the burden that they faced this year in trying to do that because it was new.”

Education and Workforce Development Cabinet Secretary Hal Heiner told committee members the dual credit expansion, which was set into motion by the General Assembly in 2016, has seen the number of students enrolled in dual credit classes up 49.9 percent in one year.

“One really great part about it is that it makes it very clear that the participating postsecondary institutions, that even though some of the courses will come through the scholarship route, we have many students that want to move to an Associate’s degree while they’re in high school, and that reduced pricing policy from participating postsecondary institutions, they have to hold that same rate, even outside the scholarship,” Heiner said.

Deputy Secretary of the Labor Cabinet Mike Nemes likes that the KEES money stays with the student that earned it, whether they choose a traditional 4-year college path or another career path.

“These are two opportunities for students to decide how to make a better life for themselves in a career,” Nemes said.

Carney also likes the fact that the legislation helps the group students who have sometimes been neglected in the past when it comes to scholarship money.

“We have, for too long, tried to push people to a 4-year track and that is not for everybody and I think we’re all realizing that,” Carney said. “I think this bill supports that idea.”

HB 206 moves on the full Senate for consideration.


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