The Kentucky House has voted to expand a scholarship program for students in the state's coal regions. House members voted 92-0 Monday to send the bill to the Senate.
The measure is aimed at increasing the number of people achieving four-year college degrees in the eastern and western Kentucky coalfields. The scholarships would be awarded to students who, for the most part, attend four-year college campuses in coal counties, in hopes they stay there after getting their degrees.
House Speaker Greg Stumbo says coalfield counties in eastern Kentucky lag behind other parts of the state in the percentage of its residents with four-year college degrees.
The measure seeks to make permanent a pilot project.
The scholarships are funded with coal severance tax money.
A Daviess County leader says he hopes the counties in his region will soon be included in some sort of coal tax college scholarship program. The scholarship fund announced this week by Governor Beshear includes nine counties in eastern Kentucky. While not criticizing the Governor's plan, Daviess County Judge-Executive Al Mattingly told WKU Public Radio a college scholarship program paid for by coal severance tax dollars could greatly benefit his and other coal-producing western counties, like Henderson, Webster, and Hopkins.
A bill to create a scholarship fund to help students from coal mining counties in Kentucky finish their education is once again in limbo. House Bill 260 would create a fund to give scholarships to college juniors and seniors who finish their degrees at schools in coal-producing counties.