FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) -- A Kentucky House committee has approved a bill that would make permanent and expand a scholarship program for coal-county students.
The measure is a top priority of House Speaker Greg Stumbo. He says the goal is to increase the number of people with four-year degrees in the coal regions of eastern and western Kentucky.
He says the bill is an effort to keep talented students close to home.
The proposal cleared the House Education Committee on Tuesday.
The bill seeks to make permanent a pilot project started by Gov. Steve Beshear. Under that project, 409 students received scholarships averaging $2,723.
Scholarships are funded with coal severance tax funds. Participating students have to attend four-year campuses in their region, unless their programs aren't offered locally.