By JULIA ROBERTS GOAD
PIKEVILLE, Ky. - The Pike County Fiscal Court has agreed to become a leading entity in a program to help students from coal producing counties complete their educations.
The Kentucky Coal County College Completion Scholarship (KCCCS) Program was approved in the Kentucky legislature and provides $6 million from coal severance funds.
“Parts of Kentucky have four times more people with Bachelors’ Degrees than we do here in Eastern Kentucky,” Judge Executive Wayne T. Rutherford said. “We are the only gap.”
The money will pass through the Fiscal Court, Rutherford explained.
“We will simply be a conduit,” he told the Court. “We won’t choose who gets the scholarships or furnish the money, it comes from the governor’s discretionary fund. There will be Judge Executives that are part of this, and Paul Patton (President of the University of Pikeville) wants us to be a leader in it.”
The Kentucky Appalachian Coal District is made up of 16 counties and includes Pike, Floyd, Martin and Harlan. Harlan County would also be a lead county in the KCCCS Program.
The fund will furnish grants to college students to help them get their Bachelor’s Degrees, and to community colleges to enhance services that increase student success.
In order to qualify for the scholarship, students must have received their high school diploma from a school in the coal producing counties or have been a resident when they received their GED, have completed 60 college credits and be enrolled at least half-time at a participating institution in a program of study that leads to a Bachelor’s Degree.
The maximum award will not exceed $6,000.
Schools that qualify for KCCCS funds must be located in the district, be an accredited nonprofit Kentucky College or University and offer a Bachelor’s Degree program. Those grants will not exceed $150,000.