The free community college can expand in Kansas – The Beacon – Natural Self Esteem

Less than a year after offering a free community college for Kansas students in some high-demand fields, the state legislature is proposing adjustments to expand access.

While 663 first-semester students in the new program received the Kansas Promise Scholarship, nearly 75% of applicants did not receive an award, according to an early 2022 report to the Kansas Legislature. Approximately $1.5 million of the $10 million budgeted for the fiscal year was distributed. Data for the current semester are not yet available.

The most common reason for rejection was not following a legitimate program. More than 30% of applicants fell into this category.

The second most common reason was that the student’s entire educational costs were covered from other sources.

Now, the Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly – part of a K-12 education funding bill – will expand the program to include additional areas and applicants.

Currently, the four eligible majors are Information Technology and Security; mental and physical health care; advanced manufacturing and construction trades; and early childhood education and development. Each college can also select a single additional program that suits local needs.

If Kelly signs the 2022 law, each college could instead add an entire major — which could span multiple programs — from the list below:

  • Agriculture;
  • food and natural resources;
  • Education and training;
  • Law, Public Safety, Corrections and Safety;
  • Sales and Logistics.

The proposal provides for the Kansas Board of Regents to approve degree programs that are in high demand, are high-paying, or should meet a critical need.

It allows the board to include associate degree transfer programs where there is an existing agreement with a four-year college.

Who Received Kansas Promise Scholarships?

According to a supplemental note that accompanied an earlier version of the 2022 law, representatives from the Kansas Association of Community College Trustees, the Kansas Independent College Association and Kansas Technical Colleges supported changes to the program and said overall it was an “initial success.” been.

The Kansas Board of Regents did not comment on the bill, but agreed that the program has been a success so far.

Johnson County Community College, in the Kansas City area, had the most successful applicants, with 87 students receiving a total of $129,981.

Another local institution, the Kansas City Kansas Community College, awarded 16 students a total of $24,268.

At the time of publication, none of the colleges had responded to requests to comment on the impact of the program, provide spring semester updates, or contact The Beacon with scholarship recipients.

To receive the scholarship, students sign a contract agreeing to live and work in Kansas for at least two years after graduation. About 5% of the students who applied did not get the scholarship because they refused to sign.

The Kansas Promise Scholarship is designed to cover all remaining educational expenses — including tuition, fees, books, and supplies — after other types of grants are applied for. At least one student received nearly $10,000.

But if another program, such as B. the state Pell Scholarship, which covers education costs, students may find that they need little or no money. At least one received only $15.

Applicants must complete the Free Student Aid Application to be eligible for the program.

Sen. Molly Baumgardner, a Republican from Louisburg and one of the key lawmakers who have championed the program, told The Kansas City Beacon last year that the FAFSA requirement helps students discover other scholarships they are eligible for to have.

Less than 2% of students who applied were rejected for not completing the FAFSA, and almost the same number did not complete the application in full.

Other students did not meet age or educational requirements, did not provide proof of residency in Kansas, or did not enroll for at least six credit hours during the fall semester.

The 2022 proposal would streamline age requirements to make them more inclusive. The program previously excluded students who graduated from high school more than a year ago but are under the age of 21.

Proposed Changes to Kansas Promise Scholarship Funding

The least common reason for rejecting applications was lack of funding.

Under the original law, $10 million will be allocated to the program for fiscal years 2022 and 2023. Beginning with fiscal year 2024, the budget of the program may not exceed 150% of the amount actually used in the previous fiscal year.

If Kelly signs the proposed funding bill, it would instead create a permanent cap of $10 million per year and end the program in 2027, meaning it would end unless extended by lawmakers.

The 2022 legislation also restricts the program to US citizens and adds details about how the state should administer it, including tracking results and recovering funds from students who fail to comply with the agreement.

The Kansas Promise Act allocates funding in multiple installments, each distributed proportionately among eligible colleges based on their enrollment.

Students who met certain income caps were given priority for the program, but the caps were relatively high compared to some need-based programs, starting at $100,000 for a family of two or $150,000 for a family of three.

If additional funds were left over, higher-income families could also qualify – although the new legislation would eliminate that possibility.

Only about 1% of applicants missed out on the scholarship because their institution either ran out of funds or because they did not prioritize their income bracket yet.

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