House approves Appalachian college scholarships

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) -- Appalachian students could get special scholarships under legislation approved by the House on Tuesday.

The proposal that passed 89-7 provides grants of up to $6,000 a year to students attending a handful of private colleges in the mountain region.

The proposal is a spinoff from an earlier recommendation to turn the private University of Pikeville into a public university to boost educational levels and spur the economy in central Appalachia. Widespread opposition led to that idea being withdrawn.

The funding source for the scholarships would be coal severance tax revenue that is intended for economic development. Proponents believe generating more college graduates would make the impoverished central Appalachian region more appealing to businesses looking to build or relocate.

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