The last few months have been absolutely earth-shattering for Kentucky post-secondary education. As those of you who have read the previous article about the powerball promise may already know, the premise of the movement has been to restore statutory funding to CAP (the College Access Program) and KTG (Kentucky Tuition Grant), which are two needs-based scholarships awarded to students in the Commonwealth. Over the past decade, over one billion dollars of lottery revenue has been diverted from need-based aid (CAP and KTG) and used to plug up holes in the state budget. To put this in perspective, approximately 15,000-20,000 students per annum were denied these grants due to this issue.
However, all of this is quickly changing due to the efforts of the Prichard Committee Student Voice Team. They have worked tirelessly to advance the progress of the powerball promise campaign by holding conferences with lobbyists and legislators, organizing rallies in the capitol, writing opinion editorials for newspapers all over the state, and, generally speaking, executing a masterful grassroots initiative. The movement has had its ups and downs, as any true movement does, but the members of the Student Voice Team have remained hopeful and determined through the entire process. Just recently, all of their efforts have been rewarded in a powerful way.
The Kentucky Congress finished their budget last week in a special session and within it there was intended to be a 40 million dollar increase in funding for CAP and KTG. Although there was a mistake made in the text of the budget (as we all know, nothing in politics is ever easy), it was corrected in a “cleanup” bill named House Bill 10. Both the budget and House Bill 10 have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, so now the success of the powerball promise lay in the hands of Governor Matt Bevin and his veto power. Assuming that he does not kill House Bill 10 or line-item veto the provision to increase needs-based aid in the budget, CAP and KTG will receive a collective 55 million dollar increase over the next two years! This translates to tens-of-thousands of low-income students who will now be able to afford college and better themselves through receiving a higher education.
May I remind you that this feat can be credited to a group of passionate, hard-working high school students not unlike many of you reading this. It is truly astounding that the Student Voice Team was able to make such an impact on this legislative session, as well as the futures of countless students all over the state of Kentucky. I encourage you to spread the word about the fulfilled powerball promise, and, more importantly, to remember that you too can make an impact on the world with a little inspiration and a cause that you are willing to give your everything for.