RUSSELL SPRINGS – Joined by more than 400 students, teachers and local leaders at Russell County High School, Gov. Matt Bevin and Education and Workforce Development Secretary Hal Heiner today announced the launch of the Kentucky Dual Credit Scholarship Program. Starting next school year, this statewide program provides funds for dual credit scholarships for all 173 school districts. For the first time in the state’s history, the scholarship funds will pay for dual credit opportunities for every Kentucky senior at no cost to the student for the 2017 and 2018 schoolyears in approved courses.
“This program is a key step in transforming our approach to true workforce development,” said Gov. Bevin. “In Kentucky, we intend to have the most well prepared, well educated and workforce ready young adults anywhere in America.”
“This program and others will be funded by applying 100 percent of the lottery proceeds to their stated goal of funding education. In recent years, these funds have been misappropriated for other purposes. While I am governor, that practice of robbing our children’s education funds will cease,” Gov. Bevin continued. “We intend to spend the taxpayers’ money in a more prudent, ethical and transparent manner than has been the case in recent years. Our students and everyone else in Kentucky will be better off for it.”
“This is one of the most exciting opportunities for Kentucky high school students in decades, because for the first time we are offering a comprehensive dual credit program to every high school senior so they can earn high school and postsecondary credit concurrently, saving them money and time as they pursue careers,” said Secretary Hal Heiner.
“In the past, we have had disparate dual credit programs scattered throughout the state that had varying fees and did not give equal opportunities to all high school students to participate. The Kentucky Dual Credit Scholarship Program corrects that imbalanced approach to higher education and propels us toward dramatically stronger education and skill levels for all Kentuckians,” Heiner said.
Dual credit allows high school students to receive both high school and postsecondary credit at the same time for a course that is approved. The course may be delivered at the high school or postsecondary school. The new program will be administered by the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA).
“Dual credit courses provide life opportunities for Kentucky students that may have seemed unreachable, and puts our students on a path to college and career success while they are still in high school,” said Commissioner Stephen Pruitt, Kentucky Department of Education (KDE). “It is critical that all our students have access to these high-quality college and technical courses, and that we work together to ensure equal access and opportunity for all students in the Commonwealth.”
The Kentucky Dual Credit Scholarship Program allocates $7.5 million for the 2016-2017 school year to all school districts across Kentucky for any high school senior to earn dual credit for up to two courses, at no cost to the student. An additional $7.5 million is allocated for the following schoolyear.
Local school districts will apply for the scholarships for each eligible senior and course. An amount has been reserved for each high school for dual credit scholarships based on each school’s proportion of high school seniors. KDE estimates that there will be nearly 46,400 seniors in the class of 2017 statewide.
Eligible dual credit courses include both general education classes, and career and technical education courses in state-approved career pathways that lead to an industry-recognized credential.
In the 2015-2016 school year, 9,319 Kentucky high schools students were enrolled in 25,102 dual credit courses, according to KDE.
“Studies show that high school students who take dual-credit courses are more likely to enroll in postsecondary institutions and complete postsecondary degrees and credentials,” said Heiner. “By improving access to postsecondary education to our students we also address the critical shortage of trained, skilled and educated workers for businesses which strengthens our economy.”
Participating postsecondary institutions that want to participate in the new program will agree to the tuition and fees ceiling for dual credit courses established in the program’s guidelines which are one-third of the Kentucky Community and Technology College System’s in-state tuition rate. The schools will receive payment when the course is completed.
“This is great news for high school students wishing to attend college and for those parents who are facing the challenges of financing their college education. This is a win-win for students, parents and school districts across Kentucky and I commend Governor Bevin, Secretary Heiner and all those who have worked to make this dual credit scholarship program a reality for Kentuckians,” said Kentucky House Minority Leader Jeff Hoover, R-Russell Springs.
“It was a privilege working with the Education and Workforce Cabinet, along with KHEEA, on the dual credit scholarship program this past session,” Kentucky Senator Max Wise said. “This is a golden opportunity for our Commonwealth’s students to explore which pathway is best for them, be it college preparatory or career and technical readiness, by taking dual credit courses at no expense to our eligible high school seniors. I believe this will truly help provide the tools for the future of our economy and workforce here in Kentucky.”