Free Community College Program in Kentucky: Too Few Kentuckians are Taking Advantage
Over the last few weeks I’ve heard the conversation about free college in Kentucky pick up steam. There’s more and more interest in tuition-free options for college in the state. Ironically, there seems to be more interest in conversation about the idea of free college than in the actual free college program available to students in Kentucky right now. That’s right. At the same time more and more Kentuckians are calling for free college in Kentucky, few Kentuckians are taking advantage of the actual free college program passed into statute and funded by the Kentucky General Assembly. That’s despite ongoing communication efforts by the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS), the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE), and the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE).
For Kentuckians interested in pursuing the free college program available today, it’s called the Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship. It is available to any Kentuckian, regardless of age, test scores, or high school gpa, who is a U.S. citizen, a high school or GED graduate, and has not yet earned an associates degree. It is a last-dollar scholarship that covers the cost of tuition and fees for up to 60 credit hours at a KCTCS institution, or at another Kentucky postsecondary institution at the KCTCS tuition rate. Eligible programs of study include certificate, diploma, and applied associates degree programs in one of Kentucky’s top five high demand work sectors. Those sectors are advanced manufacturing, business/information technology, transportation/logistics, construction and trades, and healthcare. There are literally hundreds of eligible programs for students to choose from.
The purpose of the program is two-fold. First, with the cost of a college education increasing significantly and college student debt increasing just as significantly, the Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship makes college more affordable and more accessible to Kentuckians than ever before. Second, the program seeks to get more Kentuckians the short-term credentials and associates degrees needed to fill most of Kentucky’s high wage, high demand jobs. Currently, tens of thousands of those jobs, good paying jobs, go unfilled daily simply because there are not workers with the knowledge, skills, and credentials necessary to fill them.
If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about this first of its kind opportunity for Kentuckians, please click here to learn more. It would be a shame to lose this incredible opportunity because too few Kentuckians take advantage of it.