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Kentucky Scholarships and Financial Aid

Grants, Student Loans, & Fellowships

Kentucky has post-secondary institutions in every corner of the state. Whether you decide you want to go to Western Kentucky University, Eastern Kentucky University, Northern Kentucky University, or Murray State University located in the south, you may qualify for financial assistance from the federal government, the state government, and local businesses and organizations. There are many programs out there to help you finance your post-secondary education.

Finding Kentucky Scholarships and Financial Aid

Finding Kentucky scholarships and financial aid programs might take a little effort on your part. The best places to look for financial help are:

  • U.S. Government—grants and loans
  • Kentucky state government—scholarships and grants
  • Individual universities and colleges—scholarships
  • Local organizations, foundations, and businesses

Federal Financial Aid for Kentucky Students

Kentucky students with financial need may be eligible to receive federal grants, which do not have to be paid back, and federal low-interest loans, which do have to be paid back. To receive federal financial aid, you must file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This application opens every January 1. You must apply the year before the school year in which you will need the aid. The national deadline for the FAFSA is usually June 30 the year in which you are using the aid, but the Kentucky state deadline for the FAFSA is March 15, by midnight Central Standard Time. Your university or college may also have an individual FAFSA deadline. Check with your financial aid office to be sure.

Your financial aid office will decide how much money you need and offer you a financial aid package. If you are not offered a financial aid package, you might still be able to borrow from private lenders. Check with your school’s financial aid office for advice.

The State of Kentucky Financial Aid Programs

Kentucky offers financial assistance to its students. Here are some programs that you might qualify for:

Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship
The KEES program is available to students who do well in high school (2.5 GPA or above). Students do not have to apply for this scholarship. Students who enroll in a post-secondary institution will automatically be considered.

College Access Program
The CAP program is for students who are attending an accredited post-secondary institution and have financial need. Students’ expected family contributions cannot be higher than $4,617. Submit a FAFSA to qualify.

Kentucky Tuition Grant
The KTG program provides financial assistance to students who are studying at accredited independent colleges and universities. Students must have financial need. Submit a FAFSA to qualify.

Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA) Work-Study Program
The KHEAA work-study program provides career experience to Kentucky students. KHEAA contributes $2 for every hour worked. To apply, contact the KHEAA Work-Study program at your school.

Go Higher Grant
This grant is available to students 24 years or older who are taking enrolled less than half-time at participating universities and colleges. Students may receive up to $1,000 per academic year. Students must demonstrate financial need. To qualify, submit a FAFSA application and a Go Higher Grant Application.

Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship
This federally-funded award (up to $1,500) is available to high school seniors and GED students who demonstrate academic excellence. Please refer to the website for current deadlines and application procedures.

KHEAA Teacher Scholarship
This scholarships supports students who are pursuing teaching certifications. Juniors, seniors, and graduate students can be awarded $2,500 per semester, while freshmen and sophomore students can be awarded $625 per semester. Summer funding is also available. To qualify, submit a FAFSA application.

Early Childhood Development scholarship
This program provides scholarships to students studying fields related to early childhood development in an accredited post-secondary institution. Students must agree to serve in specific areas depending on their credentials. Click here to see a list of participating schools. Submit a FAFSA to qualify.

Mary Jo Young Scholarship
This scholarship in honor of a former KHEAA board of director is available to high school students taking courses at colleges that also count for high school credit. Students may be given tuition and book reimbursement for up to two classes. First generation college students who have financial need have priority.

Osteopathic Medicine Scholarship
This program was established to support students enrolled at Pikeville College’s School of Osteopathic Medicine. Students who receive a scholarship must commit to 2,000 hours of practice in Kentucky for each year they receive funding. The application is due July 1. For an application, please contact the Pikeville School of Osteopathic Medicine at (606)218-5400.

Kentucky University and College Scholarships

Kentucky financial aid also includes scholarships offered by individual universities and colleges. These scholarships are usually based on one of the following criteria:

  • academic achievement (GPA, SAT/ACT scores)
  • need (depending on the FAFSA)
  • major (department- or school-supported scholarships)
  • special abilities (athletics, art, music)
  • ethnic background
  • a combination of these

Application procedures for every university and college are different. Merit scholarships are usually offered through the admissions office at institutions and do not require further applications other than your application for admission to the school. Department-supported scholarships usually require scholarships from the specific departments.

Some institutions, like West Kentucky Community and Technical College, require students to file one general application. Other schools, like the University of Kentucky, require separate applications for freshman, transfer, and current students. Check with your school’s financial aid/scholarship office for specific application procedures.

Outside Scholarships: Foundations, Businesses, and Organizations Provide Scholarships for Kentucky Students

Kentucky students can get money for school from the community. Businesses, organizations, and foundations offer hundreds of scholarships to students. Here is a list of some of the scholarships out there:

Happy Chandler Scholarship Foundation
The foundation provides $4,000 schoalarships, renewable up to 3 years ($16,000 total), to Kentucky students attending a post-secondary institution in Kentucky. An essay about the applicant’s career plans is required. Download an application here.

Foundation for the Tri-State Community
The foundation offers a long list of scholarships to students. Visit the foundation website for a list of scholarships. For applications, call the foundation at 606-324-3888.

Blue Grass Community Foundation
The foundation offers several scholarships ranging from $500 to $2,000. Please refer to their website for specific requirements and application procedures for individual scholarships.

Daughters of the American Revolution, Kentucky Path Chapter
The Kentucky chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution offers the Mary Melvina Goforth Rouse Native American Indian Scholarship to students from the Bell County, Claiborne County or Lee County areas. Students must be of Native American heritage. Submit an application by July 1 for the fall term and November 1 for the spring term. Please refer to the website for application.

Kentucky Coalition of Nurse Practitioners & Nurse Midwives
Four $1,500 scholarships are available to students studying related programs. Students must have at least a 3.0 GPA. Please see the website for specific application procedures. The deadline is usually in March.

Three Things to Remember About Kentucky Financial Aid and Scholarships

  • If you don’t qualify for need-based grants, you may still qualify for low-interest government loans. Universities and colleges usually have a list of approved lenders. Check with your financial aid office to see if you qualify.
  • Kentucky offers several state financial aid programs for students with different backgrounds and different interests. Make sure you know what you qualify for and don’t qualify for.
  • The outside scholarship list above does not show all available outside scholarships offered in the state of Kentucky. You can do your own search locally for businesses, foundations, and organizations that offer scholarships to students.

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