Bevin announces details of new $15 million dual credit scholarship

Gov. Matt Bevin and Education and Workforce Development Secretary Hal Heiner on Wednesday announced details of the new Kentucky Dual Credit Scholarship at Russell County High School.

The Kentucky Dual Credit Scholarship Program allocates $7.5 million for the 2016-2017 school year to all school districts across Kentucky for any high school senior to earn dual credit for up to two courses, at no cost to the student. An additional $7.5 million is allocated for the following school year.

Dual credit allows high school students to receive both high school and postsecondary credit at the same time for approved coursework. The course may be taken at the local high school or postsecondary institution. The new program will be administered by the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority.

Local school districts will apply for the scholarships for each eligible senior and course. An amount has been reserved for each high school for dual credit scholarships based on each school’s proportion of high school seniors. The Kentucky Department of Education estimates that there will be nearly 46,400 seniors in the class of 2017 statewide.

In the 2015-2016 school year, 9,319 Kentucky high schools students were enrolled in 25,102 dual credit courses, according to state education officials.

Jay Morgan, vice president of academic affairs at the Council for Postsecondary Education, said last year the council started to put together a policy to standardize how dual credit is offered. That policy recommended that dual credit tuition be capped for all at $234 per course, which is about half the cost of a KCTCS class, said

Morgan said that under Bevin’s policy, school districts will be charged about $155 per course instead.

“We think that any support for dual credit in the state is positive, so we were really, really energized and glad to see that the governor and the General Assembly incorporated the money for it,” Morgan said. “I think there’s still operational details, we need to flesh some details out on billing and operations.”

The estimated Dual Credit Scholarship Funds reserved for Fayette County over the two-year period is more than $397,000, state officials said Wednesday.

About 440 high school students in Fayette County take dual credit college courses at a cost to the school district of $50 per three-hour course or $60,000 per year. District officials had been told a few weeks ago that dual-credit fees charged to the district by Bluegrass Community and Technical College would rise to $220 or more per three-hour course.

Hiren Desai, the Fayette County school district’s senior administrative services director, said Wednesday that he did not have immediate information on how the scholarship money would affect the dual credit costs to Fayette County’s school district.

Valarie Honeycutt Spears: 859-231-3409, @vhspears