Updated 3/13: Bill to make UPike public changed to focus on providing support to students in Appalachian coal-producing region

UPDATE (3/13/12 – 4 PM EDT): HB 260 passed the House by a vote of 89-7 this afternoon.

Last week, the sponsors of a bill that would have used multi-county coal severance funds to bring the University of Pikeville into the public university system introduced a committee substitute that changed the focus to providing support to students in the region. The new HB 260 aims to increase bachelor’s degree attainment in a 16-county region of southeastern Kentucky by providing grants directly to upper division students in the region.

The region would be called the Kentucky Appalachian Coal County District. The Kentucky Appalachian Coal County District consists of Bell, Breathitt, Clay, Floyd, Harlan, Johnson, Knott, Knox, Lawrence, Leslie, Letcher, Magoffin, Martin, Perry, Pike, and Whitley Counties.

A new scholarship program for upper division students established under the bill would be called the Kentucky Appalachian College Completion Grant. Under the new proposal, KACC grants of up to $6,000 would be awarded to students with more than 60 completed credit hours who are from the region and attending qualifying independent colleges (UPike, Alice Lloyd College, Union College, or University of the Cumberlands). Students meeting the same criteria attending public university extended sites within the region would be eligible for a maximum KACC grant of $2000.

The bill also includes grants of up to $150,000 to KCTCS institutions in the region to strengthen student services and outreach in the region.

The amended bill passed the House Education Committee last week and is expected to go before the full House this week.

Read more:

Description and full text of the new version of House Bill 260 (Legislative Research Commission)

Committee approves revised plan for UPike (Kentucky.com)

Turnabout in the mountains (InsideHigherEd.com)