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Kentucky Limits Free 2-Year College Program

April 17, 2017

Kentucky's free community college scholarship program will be limited to students seeking certificates in five industries with worker shortages -- health care, advanced manufacturing, transportation and logistics, business services and internet technology, and construction.

The state's Work Ready Scholarship program was originally conceived and approved by the state's Legislature last year to include students seeking two-year associate degrees. However, the state's Republican governor, Matt Bevin, vetoed that legislation but left $15.9 million of funding for it in the state's budget bill. In December, Bevin issued an executive order redefining the limits of the scholarship to just include certificate seekers in those five areas.

Although Bevin's order was issued in December, the change only recently became clear because legislators were not aware that the term "diploma" didn't include two-year degrees within the Kentucky Community and Technical College System.

Kentucky is the second state to consider limiting tuition-free programs to just certificate seekers in specific fields.

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Ashley A. Smith

Ashley A. Smith, Reporter, covers community colleges, for-profit schools and non-traditional students for Inside Higher Ed. She joined the publication in 2015 after covering government and K-12 education for the Fort Myers News-Press in Florida for three years. Ashley also covered K-12 and higher education for three years at the Marshfield News-Herald in Wisconsin. She has interned with The Flint Journal, USA Today and the Detroit Free Press. Ashley grew up in Detroit and is a 2008 graduate of Michigan State University. 

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