Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education

Supporting Displaced Students and International Exchange Opportunities

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Kentucky Innovative Scholarship Pilot Project

CPE and the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA) are piloting a 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. 

  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.

Funding Allocation

Funds, held in reserve by KHEAA, 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.

Allowed Use of Innovative Scholarship Pilot Program Campus Grants

Program Requirements

Funding Timeline

Community of Practice

All participating institutions must participate in the statewide community of practice, which 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.

Recordings of the Community of Practice


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 - Scholarships for Displaced Students

General

When will funding be available?

KHEAA began 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.

How can I participate in the Scholarship Community of Practice?

The first meeting of the Scholarship Community of Practice (CoP) took place on September 16, 2022. If you are still interested in participating or if you have general questions about the CoP, please email KYHASCoP@iie.org. 

About Displaced Students and Eligibility Requirements

What is the definition of a displaced student?

For the Kentucky Humanitarian Assistance Scholarship Program, a ”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).

Are displaced students who settled in other areas of the country, but currently are 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 initially may have resided in another state. However, funding should be prioritized to first award those already residing in Kentucky and second to those who initially may have resided in a different state, but are interested in attending school/residing in KY.

Can recipients of the scholarship study online from other locations within the U.S.?

The intent of the program was to serve displaced persons who have been relocated to the Commonwealth, meaning there is a physical connection to Kentucky. Funds were not intended to serve any student who could enroll at a Kentucky institution from anywhere in the world via the internet.  Displaced students living in Kentucky are to receive first priority for funding consideration. Students from other areas in the U.S. who are physically attending an institution in person can be considered if funding remains after Kentucky-based students are served. If any of the students who are attending in-person also take an online course or two, that would be acceptable. However, funds should not be applied to students whose total enrollment is online since they lack a physical presence. 

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.

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.

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

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.” 

If a student is in the process of changing his or 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 or she is waiting for the change of status?

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

We use 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, the student must meet the definition of a “displaced student” and provide acceptable documentation. 

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. 

We have many students already enrolled for the current academic term. We also have increased 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.

Acceptable Forms of Documentation

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

Acceptable forms of documentation may include any of the following:

How the student entered the United States, or the status of the student, will impact the type of documentation a “displaced student” will have. For questions on other acceptable forms of documentation, please email jennifer.fraker@ky.gov

For acceptable forms of documentation for a “displaced student,” does the student’s application need to be approved?

Not necessarily. Asylum seekers do not need to have an approved application; their documentation just has to be submitted. 

Are there any guidelines for document management compliance related to the storage of eligibility documents?

While there are no storage requirements, each institution should maintain a record of what form of documentation was used to determine scholarship eligibility.

Allowable Use of Funds

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

Yes. The scholarship covers the full cost of attendance (minus any other financial aid the student receives). The 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.

Can we use funds to pay for students' application fees? (students who fit the criteria for the scholarship)? 

Yes. The funds can be used toward any items that make up a student’s cost of attendance.

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

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

One stipulation of the funds was that they cannot be used for administrative overhead. Can you define administrative overhead?

Administrative overhead is defined as those expenses incurred in support of the day-to-day operations of the campus and are not tied directly 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. 

For 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), 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.

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

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

Will there be a waiver of tuition from non-resident to resident tuition?

No. There is no waiver since the in-state tuition rate is a requirement of this scholarship.

If the funds allocated for recruitment are not used, can the recruitment funds be used to sponsor more students who fit the scholarship criteria?

Yes. The 5% allowance for recruitment and outreach is optional. Any institution may elect to use 100% of the allotment for student scholarships if desired. 

Will we be able to use the Kentucky Humanitarian Assistance Scholarship for students who are already enrolled? Are retroactive funds a possibility?

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

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 Financial Aid office will make the determination.

Application Process

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.  

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

Reporting Requirements

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.

Are there reporting guidelines for the 25% match?

To avoid unnecessary complications, the match requirement was waived as of October 2022.

Credit for Prior Learning and Evaluation

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 or 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 CPL. 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@ky.gov

Can we use funds from the recruitment allocation to pay for WES or ECE credential evaluation?

Funding may be used to cover fees for portfolio evaluation, national exams, challenge exams and other methods of determining credit for prior learning (CPL). 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@ky.gov

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@ky.gov

Funding Beyond 2024

Is it possible to set aside funding for students who received the scholarship so they can finish their degree? For example, graduate students who can finish their degree in two years or undergraduates who will finish their degree in three to four years.

The pilot program funding is only available until June 2024.  Any funds not spent during the 2022-23 academic year will roll forward and continue to the 2023-34 academic year. However, any funds remaining at the end of the second year (June 2024) must be returned to KHEAA. That being said, an institution may use its funds to support eligible students for multiple years as long as it does not exceed the June 2024 deadline. After June 2024, it is unknown if any additional state scholarship funding will become available to assist students.

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 there be a longitudinal study to evaluate the impact of the scholarship funds to include what kinds of jobs recipients receive? 

Yes. CPE currently is working with KHEAA to identify how to track and code these students for program evaluation purposes.

KCTCS Specific Information

How do we determine percentages 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 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.

Frequently Asked Questions - Kentucky Scholarships for Cultural Exchange

Eligibility and Program Requirements

When you say "foreign exchange students", does that mean J-1 students who are studying in the U.S. 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.

Was the term “international exchange” intended to mean that an institution must both send students to an international country and receive international students?

No. The term “exchange” may be causing confusion; however, the intent was focused on study-abroad experiences – whether sending students to study abroad or accepting students to study from abroad (not those who qualify as a “displaced student”) and was not meant to signal a requirement for sending a student in exchange for receiving a student.

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 or her child in college, but the child's F-2 visa expires when he or she turns 21. At that point, the student must leave the country or become an F-1, leaving under-resourced families in a tight situation (of sending a child back to his or her home country alone or borrowing money from family members and churches). Are they eligible?

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

Funding Requirements and Allowable Use of Funds

Can we begin informing students that they may apply for Innovative Pilot Scholarships to participate in the May – Summer study abroad programs?

There are no parameters surrounding the academic term(s) in which students can receive funds from the Innovative Scholarship Pilot Program. However, the funds are available for the 2022-23 academic year, and any remaining funds as of June 30, 2023 (the end of the year) will roll forward and continue to be available for the 2023-24 year.  All of this is to say that an institution can offer funds to study abroad students for Summer 2023. Please keep in mind that no more than 25% of the institution’s allotment (or $228,750.00) can be awarded for study abroad from program funding. 

Is there any issue with an institution using up to the allowable 25% of the grant funds for scholarships that pay for study-abroad experiences for our students without exchanges? 

No. It is allowable to use up to 25% of the total allotment for the study abroad component of the Innovative Scholarship funds (Kentucky Scholarships for Cultural Exchange).

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, in a program of study or in 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, through which the trips must be organized? 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 he or she also be able to apply for scholarship funds, assuming he or she is taking KCTCS students, or students at other participating Kentucky institutions, utilizing the scholarship?

Funding only can go to students and not faculty. There is no requirement that the study-abroad experience is 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 permitted to be used to recruit internationally.

Last Updated: 10/24/2022