Local News Politics

A proposal to create a scholarship fund for far eastern Kentucky college students could be in jeopardy.

The Appalachian scholarship fund was intended as a compromise, after a measure to move the University of Pikeville into the state system couldn’t garner enough support. In the House’s version of the budget, lawmakers funded the scholarships with coal severance tax money.

That funding was removed in the Senate’s budget changes.

Senate President David Williams supports the scholarships. He says he was out-voted by his Republican caucus to remove the funding, but hopes the proposal will be back in the budget after a conference committee compromise.

“I favor use of coal severance tax money for scholarships versus some of the uses for coal severance tax money. And that issue will be discussed in the conference committee and I personally support the use of coal severance tax money for scholarships I think it’s a great investment,” Williams says.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo, a chief supporter of making UPIKE a state school, says he suspects the Senate will use the scholarship funding as a bargaining chip during conference committee.