House Democrats propose free community college tuition

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) – Kentucky House Democrats want to offer community college tuition to all Kentucky high school graduates.

The proposal is modeled after a similar program in neighboring Tennessee that was put in place by a Republican governor and state legislature. Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo said if it passes, it could be in place this fall. Stumbo said it would cost $13 million in the first year and $20 million in the second year.

Republican Gov. Matt Bevin has proposed cutting public colleges and universities’ state appropriations by 4.5 percent this year and 9 percent in each of the next two years. Bevin wants to use the savings to begin paying down the state’s multi-billion pension debt.

College presidents have pushed back, saying the cuts would lead to large tuition increases and program cuts. But Bevin has said the cuts have to come from somewhere.

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