Kentucky High School Financial Planning Home Page
Back to E-Mail Updates page
Message from Flashman: This week’s update is a follow-up to update #69, from October 13, 2003. Financial aid from the state of Kentucky comes in two forms, the Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship (KEES) and need-based aid. Need-based aid includes grants like the Kentucky Tuition Grant Program and the College Access Program. With the current budget deficit, the question arises whether need-based aid money should be increased and the KEES scholarships decreased. With more money going to need-based aid, more students from low- and middle-income families could afford to go to college. However, students who perform well in high school will not get as much aid under the current lottery and the budget shortfall, unless legislators allocate money from the General Fund for this purpose.
As the issue of financial aid for college students is going to be debated in the upcoming legislative session, it will be interesting to learn student views on the pros and cons of raising need-based funding at the expense of KEES funding for all, based on grades; or raising taxes to cover shortfalls, even though Governor-Elect Ernie Fletcher has promised no new taxes.
A future follow-up will cover how students can make their opinions known to their governor and state legislators, since this issue directly affects them. This follow-up will be geared toward the social studies and math curricula.
Website Pick of the Week:
The site of the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA) has all the information on Kentucky financial aid, including the KEES program and need-based aid. The links for these programs appear on the left-hand side of Web page. Many students might not be aware of this funding, as well as Federal Pell grants.
Suggested Activity for Teachers: Have students discuss the questions below after reading this week’s article In the New$, as reported in the Lexington Herald-Leader.
In the New$.... The financial-aid gap is growing: More students are being helped, but more are being turned down, as well.
Since 1997, college enrollment has gone up 23 percent, and college costs have risen more than 21 percent. About 61,000 students who applied for basic financial aid from the state were turned down last year, and it’s only going to get worse, leaving lawmakers in a cash-strapped state with some very tough decisions.
The findings on the Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship, established in 1998 to help the highest-scoring students to further their education with need-based aid, are documented in a report by the Legislative Research Commission, to be released to the Interim Education Committee today.
KEES, as the merit program is known, was created with money from the Kentucky Lottery to give students scholarships of as much as $2,500 a year, based on grades and ACT scores.
The report also looks at the state’s financial aid for needy students. The lottery money is divided equally for each program; by 2005, that split will be 45 percent for KEES and 55 percent for need-based aid.
Among other findings in the report:
In 2001-2002, students whose family income was $15,000 to $19,999 received an average award of $780. Those from families with income between $105,000 and $109,999 got an average of $1,216, or 56 percent more.
More Need than Money
During the upcoming legislative session, Governor-Elect Ernie Fletcher and state lawmakers will have to decide whether to make changes to KEES, such as basing awards on numeric, rather than letter, grades, or lowering awards because of decreased funds (if no new tax laws are passed).
However, the biggest decision for them will be how to continue paying, not just for KEES, but for the rest of Kentucky’s financial-aid programs.
The cost of providing KEES scholarships alone is expected to exceed lottery revenues by $3.3 million in 2005-2006, while the unmet need for income-based financial aid is about $70 million.
Because need-based grants are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, students who wait too long to turn in their forms may find there’s no money left.
According to the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority, graduates of four-year public universities owe an average of $13,500 in student loans.
Source: Adapted from
By Linda B. Blackford, Herald-Leader Education Writer
1.) Should KEES money be reduced in favor of need-based aid?
2.) Do you think it is a good idea to raise taxes on things like cigarettes to fund both financial aid programs?
3.) Should grading scales be standardized for the whole state of Kentucky in order to make the KEES program more fair?
4.) Should need-based aid be awarded not on a first-come, first-served basis, but on an actual need-based basis, such as the students with the greatest need getting the aid first?
5.) How do you feel about the recent poll in which a majority of Kentuckians said they would support a .25 (25 cent) increase per pack in the state cigarette tax?
6.) If the state legislature passes an increase in cigarette taxes in order to fund educational needs, should Governor-Elect Ernie Fletcher veto the bill to keep his campaign pledge of no new taxes?
Kentucky High School Financial Planning Program
The purpose of this Web site is to assist county extension agents, credit union educators, and high school teachers in improving the economic well-being of our constituency, beginning with todays students; and also, to assist teachers in Kentucky in meeting KERAs goal that all students become technologically literate. Weekly Updates are provided by the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service, and are free to all educators.