Supporting Displaced Students
Kentucky is piloting an innovative approach to both supporting displaced students and promoting a trained and retained workforce in their state. The state is leveraging existing state funds to provide scholarships and create a state-wide higher ed community of practice on how to enroll and support displaced students.
Kentucky’s General Assembly passed House Bill 1* in 2022, which provides $10 million in funding for an “Innovative Scholarship Pilot Program.” The bill directs the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA) to work in coordination with the Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) to establish the pilot program for fiscal year 2022-2023. The pilot project was subsequently designed to support scholarships for displaced students and scholarships to promote international exchange. Given the current historic levels of displacement worldwide, KHEAA and CPE dedicated the scholarship pilot programs as part of the humanitarian effort to provide post-secondary opportunities for displaced students. Access to higher education credentials can be a key driver of social and economic mobility. In addition, the program will benefit the Commonwealth of Kentucky through innovation, cultural exchange, and workforce development.
Funds will be distributed to Kentucky campuses to provide scholarships up to the total cost of attendance for Displaced Students pursuing an undergraduate postsecondary certificate or degree at a Kentucky institution of higher education. Under the program, a “displaced student” is defined as a traditional or non-traditional aged student who has received U.S. asylum (asylees), submitted a U.S. asylum application (asylum-seeker), is a resettled refugee, or is in the U.S. under Temporary Protected Status (TPS), humanitarian parole, or through a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV). The majority of the funds, $5.8 million, will be distributed to Kentucky’s eight public institutions, based on the proportion of total undergraduate student enrollment at each institution. Another $2.8 million will be distributed to Kentucky’s community and technical colleges through KCTCS and $1million will be available for private, non-profit higher education institutions in Kentucky. Campuses are encouraged to use as much of their allotment as possible during the 2022-23 academic year. Remaining funds may continue into the 2023-24 academic year to enroll new students and/or assist students make progress or complete their academic programs.
Institutions participating in the innovative scholarship program will also participate in a state- wide community of practice. The community of practice creates opportunities for practitioners and experts in the field to come together and share effective practices. The community of practice is led by NASH, IIE, Community Sponsorship Hub and the Presidents’ Alliance.
*Kentucky’s General Assembly passed House Bill 1 (2022) which included the following language: “Excluding any unclaimed prize money received under Part III, 20. of this Act, there is hereby appropriated from the KEES Program Reserve Account Restricted Funds in the amount of $10,000,000 in fiscal year 2022-2023 for the Innovative Scholarship pilot project from fiscal year 2020-2021 excess lottery receipts. The Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority shall work in coordination with the Council on Postsecondary Education to develop and implement the Innovative Scholarship pilot project. Notwithstanding KRS 45.229, any portion of funds that have not been expended by the end of fiscal year 2022-2023 shall not lapse and shall carry forward into fiscal year 2023-2024.”