Quick Takes

Students could use KEES to pay for certificate programs under bill clearing House Education Committee

By: - February 14, 2023 3:14 pm

From left to right, Vice President of Government Relations and Communications. Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority Erin Klarer, Rep. James Tipton and KHEAA Director of Student Aid Services Rebecca Gilpatrick present House Bill 18 to the House Education Committee Tuesday morning. Photo for the Kentucky Lantern by McKenna Horsley

FRANKFORT — Four bills that clarify and expand existing programs in Kentucky schools moved forward in the legislative process. 

The bills, which are all sponsored by Republicans, received favorable recommendations from the House Education Committee Tuesday. Topics they address are dual credit courses, higher education scholarships, qualifications for classified school employees and insured student loans. 

House Bill 18

House Education Committee Chairman James Tipton, R-Taylorsville, is sponsoring House Bill 18, which would expand access to dual credit courses taken by Kentucky high school students. Tipton said he had worked on versions of this bill in previous years. 

The bill would make the Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship a “post-high school scholarship,” helping high school students work toward an associate’s degree, Tipton explained. Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority Director of Student Aid Services Rebecca Gilpatrick said another aspect of the bill would remove a requirement for the college to send back half of the scholarship amount if a student fails or withdraws from a course. Most students pass the courses. 

In response to a question from House Education Committee Vice Chair Timmy Truett, R-McKee, Tipton said high school students could complete up to 36 hours, or about two semesters of college, with support of dual credit scholarships. 

The committee approved a House committee substitute that Tipton said would ensure the transferability of the credits to a higher education institution.

House Bill 133

Sponsored by Rep. Steve Bratcher, R-Elizabethtown, House Bill 133 would allow students to use awarded money from the Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship for certificate programs, such as commercial driver’s licensing, computer programming classes and nursing aide courses. 

Jessie Schook, vice president of Workforce and Economic Development for the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, told the committee KCTCS’ workforce solutions program works with businesses and companies to quickly create training courses needed for their workforce. 

“Many of the programs that Rep. Bratcher just mentioned were created and designed and developed to address those immediate labor market needs,” Schook said. “In some instances the programs are offered for credit and do translate directly into a further education pathway such as an associate’s in science or art.” 

House Bill 32

If passed, House Bill 32 would give Kentucky school districts the option of hiring classified personnel without a high school diploma or equivalent and provide the employee an opportunity to obtain one. Classified employees include support staff positions such as bus drivers and secretaries. 

Rep. Kevin Jackson, R-Bowling Green, told the committee Warren County Public Schools has 99 open classified positions, according to information he received from the district. 

“The reasoning behind this is to give our school systems an opportunity to hire a wider pool of applicants, people that don’t have a GED, people that don’t have a diploma,” Jackson said. Some of those would make excellent school employees. 

The committee approved putting the bill into effect immediately upon passage. 

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McKenna Horsley
McKenna Horsley

McKenna Horsley covers state politics for the Kentucky Lantern. She previously worked for newspapers in Huntington, West Virginia, and Frankfort, Kentucky. She is from northeastern Kentucky.