Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education

New scholarships aim to offer humanitarian assistance, foster cultural exchange

July 26, 2022

Group of diverse students
Photo credit: Shutterstock

The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education and the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority announced today a new scholarship pilot program designed to support undergraduate students displaced by crises in their home countries. The scholarships are funded by a $10 million appropriation by the General Assembly.

The Innovative Scholarship Pilot Program will make financial assistance available to traditional or non-traditional aged, documented foreign national students who have received U.S. asylum, submitted a U.S. asylum application, or are a resettled refugee, or in the U.S. under Temporary Protected Status, humanitarian parole or through a special immigrant visa.

“Making Kentucky a welcoming place for people who have been displaced by a crisis in their home country is important to my administration,” said Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear. “These new humanitarian scholarships will go a long way in helping them further their education and contribute to our communities and economy. I’m proud of our great colleges and universities for participating in this worthwhile program.”

The funding comes at a critical time as the United Nations estimates that more than 82 million people have been internally displaced due to wars and natural calamity.

“This scholarship program will give displaced students the chance to earn a degree at one of our outstanding colleges and universities and go on to use those skills to contribute to our state’s economy,” said Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers. “Kentucky students will also have the opportunity to study internationally. Helping students gain those learning experiences will help strengthen our workforce.”

Funds for the Kentucky Humanitarian Assistance Scholarships and Kentucky Scholarships for Cultural Exchange can be distributed to campuses by KHEAA starting this summer. They are available to both public and private, nonprofit Kentucky higher education institutions. Campuses are required to provide a 25% match to receive the scholarship grants.

“KHEAA is excited to facilitate these scholarship opportunities as an actionable way to achieve diversity, equity and inclusion for some of our most vulnerable populations,” said Diana Barber, interim executive director. “We look forward to engaging with the campuses on this new endeavor.”

As part of the program, CPE will facilitate information sharing and professional development for college and university staff who recruit, advise and support students from displaced populations.

CPE President Aaron Thompson said the Kentucky Innovative Scholarship Pilot Project is intended to help combat crises like that in Ukraine by giving displaced students the opportunity to earn a college degree or credential in Kentucky and contribute to a healthy economy in the state.

“The program aims to give displaced students an opportunity for economic mobility, but it will also bring and enhance innovation and cultural exchange to our campuses and increase educational attainment in the state for a stronger workforce,” said Thompson.

Last Updated: 7/26/2022