Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education

Supporting Displaced Students and International Exchange Opportunities

Students
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Kentucky Innovative Scholarship Pilot Project

Background

The United Nations (UN) estimates that more than 82 million people have been internally displaced due to wars and natural calamity. The Kentucky Innovative Scholarship Pilot Project is an effort to combat this humanitarian and economic crisis by providing Displaced Students with the opportunity to pursue a postsecondary credential in Kentucky. The program is designed not only to improve social and economic mobility of displaced populations, but it will benefit the Commonwealth through enhanced innovation, cultural exchange, increased educational attainment and workforce development.

Overview

The Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) and the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA) will establish a pilot program supported with funding appropriated by the 2022 General Assemblyi to provide college access and promote undergraduate student success for displaced students and for students participating in international exchange programs. The pilot project will be used to support the following:

  1. Scholarships for Displaced Students: Funds will be distributed to Kentucky campuses to provide scholarships up to the total cost of attendance for Displaced Students pursuing an undergraduate postsecondary certificate or degree at a Kentucky institution of higher education. For the purpose of the Kentucky Humanitarian Assistance Scholarship Program, a “displaced student” is defined as a traditional or non-traditional aged student who is a foreign national who has received U.S. asylum (asylees), submitted a U.S. asylum application (asylum-seeker), or is a resettled refugee, or is in the U.S. under Temporary Protected Status (TPS), humanitarian parole, or through special immigrant visa (SIV).
  2. Scholarships to Promote International Exchange: A portion of the scholarship funds may be used to support U.S. native and foreign undergraduate students participating in international exchange programs. Exchange programs create opportunities for participants to learn with others from different areas of the world and help develop citizens who appreciate the value of culture difference and international collaboration.
  3. Community of Practice: A state-level community of practice will be established for representatives of Kentucky postsecondary institutions who are serving or seek to serve Displaced Students. The community of practice will provide a forum to share and scale proven practices, offer professional development for faculty and other campus practitioners serving Displaced Student populations, and provide resources to help leverage other state, federal or private resources.

Funding Allocation

Funds for each campus will be held in reserve by KHEAA and will be allocated based on the scholarship needs of the intended populations. The reserved amounts for Kentucky’s public universities and KCTCS are based on the overall percentage of undergraduate students. One million of the $10 million is reserved for Kentucky’s private, non-profit campuses.

Start-Up Costs: KHEAA will advance up to 20% of each participating institution’s total allotment to assist with start-up costs when the program begins. Once the program is underway, institutions can request additional funds from KHEAA as needed, not to exceed the total allotted for each institution.

Community of Practice: CPE will establish a state-level community of practice (CoP) and resource hub for representatives of Kentucky postsecondary institutions who are serving or seek to serve Displaced Students. All institutions that receive funding to support Displaced Students will be required to participate in the CoP.

Allowed Use of Innovative Scholarship Pilot Program Campus Grants

Program Requirements

Funding Timeline


iNote: House Bill 1 (2022) contained funding for the “Innovative Scholarship Pilot Project” which included the following language: “Excluding any unclaimed prize money received under Part III, 20. of this Act, there is hereby appropriated from the KEES Program Reserve Account Restricted Funds in the amount of $10,000,000 in fiscal year 2022-2023 for the Innovative Scholarship pilot project from fiscal year 2020-2021 excess lottery receipts. The Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority shall work in coordination with the Council on Postsecondary Education to develop and implement the Innovative Scholarship pilot project. Notwithstanding KRS 45.229, any portion of funds that have not been expended by the end of fiscal year 2022-2023 shall not lapse and shall carry forward into fiscal year 2023-2024.”


Frequently Asked Questions - General

When will funding be available?

KHEAA will begin sending participating agreements to institutions the week of July 11, 2022. The 20% funding advance will be available to each institution as soon as its participation agreement is fully executed. After the cash advance, institutions shall request additional funds per their participating agreement (up to the total allotted) from KHEAA.

Who can I contact if I have additional funding-related questions?

Please contact Becky Gilpatrick at KHEAA via email at rgilpatrick@kheaa.com

Who can I contact if I have additional programmatic-related questions?

Please contact Jennifer Fraker at CPE via email at jennifer.fraker@ky.gov.

When do you expect the Scholarship Community of Practice to begin?

We anticipate a launch date of the Community of Practice sometime in August 2022; look for more information via email soon.

Frequently Asked Questions - Displaced Students-Related

What is the definition of displaced student?

For the purpose of the Kentucky Humanitarian Assistance Scholarship Program, ”displaced student” is defined as a traditional or non-traditional aged student who arrived in the U.S. within five years and has not established U.S. citizenship as of July 1, 2022, is a foreign national who has received U.S. asylum (asylees), submitted a U.S. asylum application (asylum-seeker), is a resettled refugee; or is in the U.S. under Temporary Protected Status (TPS), humanitarian parole, or through special immigrant visa (SIV).

Will we be able to use the displaced scholarship for students who are already enrolled for Fall 2022? Are retroactive funds a possibility?

The funds cannot be applied to charges prior to the start of the Fall 2022 term. Funds can be used to assist eligible students that are already on campus, provided they are not back paying or applying funds to a charge or activity that occurred prior to the Fall 2022 term.

We have many students already enrolled for fall. We also have had a definite uptick in interest from Asylum pending prospective students, some of whom came through the public school system, with few options for college. Are these students eligible?

A prospective student who has a documented asylum application and meets the definition of a “displaced student” would be eligible.

Are displaced students who have settled in other areas of the country, but are currently attending or wish to attend a college or university in Kentucky eligible for the scholarship program?

The scholarship is available to those students who meet the definition of a “displaced student” and may have initially resided in another state. However, funding should be prioritized to first award those already residing in Kentucky and second to those who may have initially resided in a different state, but are interested in attending school/residing in KY.

How do we determine percentages such as 25% and 5% as a part of the KCTCS system? Will the KCTCS participating schools have unique allotments and unique percentages?

Determinations are made by the KCTCS central office.

It is not yet clear to us how we will apply for these funds, as a part of the KCTCS system. We hope that we will be able to demonstrate the high need here at our institution, as well as our positioning in this area of students and student needs to optimally serve these students.

The KCTCS central office will provide this information soon.

Would students who have an undergraduate degree from their home country be eligible?

Yes. Students who meet the definition of a “displaced student” and are seeking an undergraduate degree from a Kentucky institution would be eligible regardless of previous coursework or degrees.

What evidence do institutions need for qualifying the immigration status of students?

Acceptable forms of documentation include: an I-94; foreign passport with CBP PAROLED stamp and/or parole COA notation; EAD with C11 parolee category, Electronic Form I-94 with OAR, PAR or DT COA; permanent resident card, Form I-551; receipt of asylum applications, Form I-589; Form I-94 with a stamp or notation of “asylum granted indefinitely” or with an admission class of “AY”; and, USCIS Approval Letter. How the student entered the United States, or the status of the student, will impact the type of documentation a “displaced student” will have.

Can the scholarship be used to help cover costs of living?

Yes. The scholarship covers the full cost of attendance (minus any other financial aid the student receives). Full cost of attendance is defined as the allowable costs that are used to package a student’s financial aid, including tuition and fees, room and board, books, supplies, and transportation costs.

Would there be a statewide process for waiving the difference between in-state and out-of-state? At what point can we deem this in the application process of the student?

The requirement to charge in-state resident rates only applies to “displaced students” receiving the Kentucky Humanitarian Assistance Scholarship. These students should be coded as international students and charged the in-state tuition rate.

If a student is in the process of changing his/her status to one of the potentially funded categories (i.e., they come to the U.S. on a B-2 tourist visa, then apply for a change of status to a J-1, or apply for asylum), will the student be eligible while he/she is waiting for the change of status?

The student must have the proper documentation to confirm his/her status for eligibility purposes, proof of asylum application or confirmation of another status.

Will there be an established equation of educational costs, when beyond the scope of tuition fees?

The cost of attendance the institution calculates for financial aid purposes will be used. The institution’s FA office will make the determination.

Will funds be accessible for international transcript evaluations?

Funding may be used to cover fees for portfolio evaluation, national exams, challenge exams, and other methods of determining credit for prior learning. However, before Humanitarian Assistance Scholarship dollars can be applied to CPL, campuses must submit to CPE their internal processes and policies for reviewing and awarding CPL and the fees associated with these evaluations. Submissions should be emailed to Jennifer Fraker at jennifer.fraker@ky.gov.

We utilize a waiver for students, such as Afghans and Ukrainians, who had to flee without proper documentation. Will we allow these students to continue to use this waiver in order to continue their education in the U.S.?

To be eligible for scholarship funding, documentation must be provided. Acceptable forms of documentation include: an I-94; foreign passport with CBP PAROLED stamp and/or parole COA notation; EAD with C11 parolee category, Electronic Form I-94 with OAR, PAR or DT COA; permanent resident card, Form I-551; receipt of asylum applications, Form I-589; Form I-94 with a stamp or notation of “asylum granted indefinitely” or with an admission class of “AY”; and, USCIS Approval Letter. How the student entered the United States, or the status of the student, will impact the type of documentation a “displaced student” will have.

What data will be required in the reports? How will institutions demonstrate success?

KHEAA will outline the items that need to be reported in the institution’s participation agreement. Items will include, but are not limited to, student demographic information, country of origin and type of immigration documentation received (for “displaced students”), amounts of aid received (federal, state, Humanitarian Assistance Scholarship), and programmatic information.

Will scholarship applicants have to apply at the KHEAA website or only with the college?

No application will be required with KHEAA. Institutions will be responsible for managing student applications and certifying student eligibility for the scholarship.

Are there reporting guidelines for the 25% match yet?

KHEAA and CPE will provide the guidelines in summer 2022.

Can federal funds from other grants, such as Adult Education, be used as part of the matching funds?

Federal funds, such as the Federal Pell grant that is traditionally used to package a student’s financial aid, cannot be counted toward the institution’s 25% match. However, if the institution has received federal funding for other purposes (not related to student financial aid), and those funds can be used to provide in-kind services related to the pilot program, then the funds can count toward the match.

Is there a financial need criteria the individuals must meet? Do we set any criteria?

There is no income-specific criteria. The scholarship is available to those students who have been admitted to a participating college or university and who meet the definition of a “displaced student.” As noted above, preference should be given to displaced populations currently residing in Kentucky.

Must these scholarships be only towards credit credentials (certificates, diplomas, degrees) or can they also go towards third-party, industry-recognized non-credit credentials?

The funds can only be applied to credit-bearing undergraduate credentials and ESL coursework at universities. At KCTCS institutions, the funds can also be used for developmental education courses.

For students who have a diploma or degree from their home or secondary country, can funding support degree equivalency and course by course equivalency processes to recuperate some of their prior learning?

Campuses are encouraged to award credit for prior learning (CPL) where appropriate when a “displaced student” has completed coursework in his/her home country that is determined to be equivalent to the Kentucky campus’s program requirements. Funding may be used to cover fees for portfolio evaluation, national exams, challenge exams, and other methods of determining credit for prior learning. However, before Humanitarian Assistance Scholarship dollars can be applied to CPL, campuses must submit to CPE their internal processes and policies for reviewing and awarding CPL and the fees associated with these evaluations. Submissions should be emailed to Jennifer Fraker at jennifer.fraker@ky.gov.

Could students on nonimmigrant visas (e.g. F-1) who are already here change to TPS and still receive funding even though they didn't begin in one of the statuses?

Students would be eligible for funding as long as they meet the definition of a “displaced student.”

Can funding be used to pay for staffing to provide support services for these students?

No. State scholarship funds cannot be used to pay for staffing to provide support services. However, institutional funds used for this purpose can be counted toward the 25% required match. With the exception of 5% of a campus’s funding allotment (which is to be used only to identify and recruit students), program dollars from the state must be used to directly support students through scholarships up to the total cost of attendance.

Will these funds also be available for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students?

DACA students do not meet the definition of a “displaced student” and therefore do not qualify for funding.

Given that an undergraduate degree can take longer than a year or two, how can we ensure that students with these great scholarships are supported through to graduation?

The Humanitarian Assistance Scholarship Program is currently a pilot, with funding available to campuses in academic years 2022-23 and possibly 2023-24 if a campus has not spent its full allotment in the first year. CPE and KHEAA will provide pilot program data to the legislature with the hope of program continuation. However, institutions should consider their own resources and funding streams to assist these students as needed beyond the pilot program period.

Will the waiver of tuition from non-resident to resident tuition be an acceptable match?

No. There is no waiver since the in-state tuition rate is a requirement of this scholarship, and no match would be possible in this case.

Would potential beneficiaries be required to complete the FAFSA or will there be a separate application students would complete to access the funds?

The FAFSA is not required. However, FAFSA completion is recommended if students fall into one of the eligible non-citizen categories for federal aid purposes (making them potentially eligible for Pell grants). Receipt of federal aid (Pell) will help stretch Humanitarian Assistance Scholarship funding further.

On the recruitment budget, could we use some of this for ESL top up training and/or training select faculty and staff to work with people experiencing trauma?

Each campus is allowed to use up to 5% of its total allocation to identify and recruit individuals from displaced populations interested in pursuing postsecondary opportunities. The funding cannot be applied to faculty and staff training. However, the Community of Practice (CoP), to be launched later this summer, will provide opportunities for professional development and training for faculty and staff serving “displaced students” who suffer from past trauma. The CoP is free to all participants.

Will this scholarship be available for developmental coursework, including English as a Second Language (ESL) courses?

The funds can only be applied to credit-bearing undergraduate credentials and ESL coursework at universities. At KCTCS institutions, the funds can also be used for developmental education courses..

One stipulation of the funds was that it cannot be used for administrative overhead,yet services-in-kind are acceptable as part of the institutional match. Is this in conflict?

Administrative overhead is defined as those expenses incurred in support of the day-to-day operations of the campus and are not directly tied to the scholarship program. For example, rent and utilities and general and administrative expenses such as executive salaries, accounting department costs and personnel department costs would be considered administrative overhead. Direct costs related to administration of the scholarship (i.e. a portion of a financial aid staff member’s salary to implement the program on campus) can be used to meet the institutional match requirements.

For the 25% match requirement, does institutional financial aid count?

No. Since Humanitarian Assistance Scholarship funding is allowed to cover up to the total cost of attendance (minus any of the student’s federal and state aid), institutions are encouraged to apply their institutional funds to support counseling, language assistance and other campus-based services in order to meet the institutional match requirement.

Is there a time limit of how long someone is eligible since his or her arrival in the US. For example, if someone was resettled as a refugee when he or she was 12 years old, now is 18 and has citizenship, would they still be eligible?

Eligible students would be those who arrived in the U.S. within five years, have not already established U.S. citizenship and meet the definition of a “displaced student.”

If a student who is eligible for the program now starts school and gains citizenship next year, would he/she still be eligible for the scholarship?

Yes. A student who initially was eligible for the Humanitarian Assistance Scholarship will remain eligible for funding as long as he/she maintains continuous enrollment.

When you say "foreign exchange students", does that mean J1 students who are studying in the US as part of an official exchange agreement?

Eligible students would be those with a J-1 visa studying in the U.S. as part of an official time-limited educational exchange program that includes a cultural component in addition to their academic work.

Frequently Asked Questions - International Exchange

In order to access funds for exchange students, is it required to have a J-1 visa in place? Can short-term exchange also be considered for students of other non-immigrant visa types? If so, what documentation will be provided?

Eligible students would be those with a J-1 visa studying in the U.S. as part of an official time-limited educational exchange program that includes a cultural component in addition to their academic work.

We have many students who are spouses or dependents of other visa types. Many of our students are initially F-2 students who finish high school in Kentucky. In order to pursue full-time study, they must change to an F-1. By the nature of either of these visas, these students are "temporary" although not technically categorized as exchange. Often the parent is a student at the Seminary or University in Louisville, and they do not have the means to support his/her child in college, but the child's F-2 visa expires when he/she turns 21. At that point, the student must leave the country or become an F-1, leaving underresourced families in a tight situation (of sending a child back to their home country alone or borrowing money from family members and churches).

Neither an F-1 nor F-2 visa type would be eligible for scholarship funding.

What parameters or requirements must be in place to utilize funds for study abroad opportunities for domestic students?

Hard parameters have not been set in this case, so there is flexibility in terms of the time a student would need to spend abroad, a program of study, or a nation of study. These are decisions that should be made by the individual campuses or the KCTCS central office.

Are there key study abroad facilitators, like CCSA, that the trips must be organized through? Can we work with polytechnic and vocational schools to develop hands-on exchange opportunities in the trades? If a KCTCS faculty member is leading a study abroad trip, would they also be able to apply for scholarship funds, assuming they are taking KCTCS students, or students at other participating Kentucky institutions, utilizing the scholarship?

Funding can only go to the student and not faculty. There is no requirement that the study abroad experience be facilitated by a specific organization.

The scholarship states that all scholarship dollars will be applied to in-state tuition. How will this work for J-1 visa types, whose tuition is stipulated through Kentucky regulations?

The requirement to charge in-state resident rates only applies to “displaced students” receiving the Kentucky Humanitarian Assistance Scholarship. For those students participating in an international exchange program, all federal, state and institutional aid must be applied before any Kentucky Scholarship Program for Cultural Exchange grant funding.

Can recruitment efforts include international recruitment?

The purpose of the recruitment dollars available to campuses through the pilot program is to identify and recruit students from displaced populations who have or are being resettled in Kentucky. They are not meant to be used to recruit internationally.

Last Updated: 7/22/2022