The Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority awards scholarships to Kentucky students who prove academic excellence through their grades. Unlike many other scholarships, the awards don't require an examination of extracurricular activities, essays or community involvement. The same standard applies to the requirements for receiving the award in succeeding academic years.

What They Are

The Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA) awards Kentucky Education Excellence Scholarships (KEES), funded by the state lottery, to students who achieve at least a 2.5 GPA during high school. Home schooled students and young adults who complete the GED qualify based on their ACT scores. In most cases, scholarships are limited to Kentucky colleges, but students attending a public university in a different state that participates in the Academic Common Market may use their scholarship at that university. Scholarships cover any expenses associated with attending college.

Eligibility Requirements for Receiving the Scholarship

High school students working towards a GPA KEES award must be a Kentucky resident who is a U.S. citizen. They must earn at least a 2.5 GPA in any year of high school at a certified Kentucky school. KEES ACT bonus awards require at least a 15 on the ACT or at least 710 on the SAT in addition to a 2.5 GPA. The Higher Education Authority also awards supplements to students who qualified for free or reduced lunch and passed an Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exam. Home-schooled students must meet the ACT and residency requirements and GED awardees must have earned their degree within five years of turning 18.

Requirements to Maintain the Scholarship

Cumulative GPA is the major determining factor on whether or not the scholarship is renewed. The standards for renewals changed in the 2009-2010 academic year. Students who received their award after that date must maintain a 3.0 GPA or higher to receive the full award in succeeding academic years. Students with a GPA between 2.5 and 3.0 are eligible if that student completes enough course hours. The award is reduced by 50% for students without the required course hours. Students who achieve a GPA lower than 3.0 who are part time or not on track to graduate must meet the above standards by the end of the next academic year to be considered for renewal.

Other Requirements, Contingencies and Exceptions

KHEAA awards scholarships for a maximum of eight academic terms, in most cases. Students must use their awards within five years of graduation from high school. Some official five-year programs qualify for longer award periods. Awardees who don't finish within the five years may apply for an extension under certain circumstances. These include an inability to attend school because of a serious illness, death or serious illness of a family member, natural disasters and active duty service in the Armed Forces, the Peace Corps, Americorps or in the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service. Summer sessions are not eligible for KEES awards.

Other Scholarships Awarded by KHEAA

The Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship awards up to $1,500 per year to students who show academic excellence by maintaining a GPA of 3.5, ACT scores of at least 23 or SAT scores of at least 1060. GED applicants must have a 2700 or higher composite score. Early Childhood Development Scholarships reward students working at an early childhood facility who wish to continue their education and who make a commitment to remaining in the field. The Mary Jo Young Scholarship honors a former KHEAA board member by awarding funds to a student taking AP courses. All of these scholarships have the same requirements for maintaining KEES scholarships.

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