TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – The Kansas Legislature called for multiple House and Senate committees to meet and come to a mutual agreement on similar bills during their one-day session on Thursday. One of the first committees to actually come to an agreement was on education.
Update as of 2:38 a.m. Friday: The House votes to pass the bill 110-3 and it will now head to Governor Kelly’s office for final approval.
Update as of 1:35 a.m. Friday: The Senate votes to pass the bill to the House floor.
The Senate Education Committee agreed to combine aspects of SB 336 and HB 2515, thus adding it to the preexisting HB 2510. This creates a scholarship that will pay two years of college tuition for students who meet the criteria.
Chair of the Senate committee Senator Molly Baumgardner (R, Louisburg) pushed for additions of other education topics previously brought up this session to be added to this bill.
This includes requiring the Kansas Department for Children and Families and the Kansas Department of Education to begin collecting data on how children in foster care are doing in school. This data would go to the legislature every year.
“We know that less than 25% of our kids in foster care go on to college. We also know that less than 40% of our foster kids even graduate from high school. But we can’t really solve the problem unless we have real data,” Baumgardner said.
Additional points added to the bill allow free ACT Prep and ACT testing for all high school students, which requires no additional money from tax payers, Baumgardner said.
Another addition allows school districts to pay tuition for students taking dual-credit courses through a college, if they desire.
The finished bill will now go to the full legislature to be voted on.
Baumgardner said she expects strong support in passing the bill from both the House and Senate.
The criteria for the scholarship is as follows:
- Be a Kansas resident
- Be or have any of the following:
- Enrolled in grade 12 in any public or private secondary school in Kansas within the last five years
- Graduated from any public or private secondary school in Kansas within the last five years
- Been in foster care at any time while enrolled in any of the grades six through 12; or
- Obtained a GED or high school equivalency certificate.
- Complete the scholarship application forms
- Complete the free application for federal student aid (FAFSA) for the academic year the student is seeking a scholarship
- Participate in mentoring and guidance sessions as required by the board of regents; and
- Enroll in an associate degree program, career and technical education program, or baccalaureate completion program.