Student News

Kentucky Innovative Scholarship offers hope to displaced students

Mark Cornelison | UKphoto
Mark Cornelison | UK Photo.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 28, 2022) — The University of Kentucky is proud to be participating in a new program to support displaced students in Kentucky. The Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) and the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA) have launched the Kentucky Innovative Scholarship, which offers scholarships to displaced students pursuing an undergraduate degree in Kentucky.

The program, funded by a $10 million appropriation by the 2022 Kentucky General Assembly, allows colleges and universities across the Commonwealth to provide scholarships up to the total cost of attendance for displaced students. A displaced student is defined as a refugee, parolee, asylee granted or approved, TPS (temporary protected status) or SIV (special immigrant visa). Students must have been in the United States for five years or less and must live in the state of Kentucky to receive this scholarship. 

The United Nations refugee agency, the UNHCR, estimates that there are over 89 million people who have been forcibly displaced worldwide as a result of persecution, conflict, violence or human rights violations. Most are internally displaced, within their home countries, but there are currently over 27.1 million refugees in the world. Since 1975, the United States has resettled over 3 million refugees. As legal entrants to the United States, refugees can apply for permanent residence and eventually citizenship. The Commonwealth of Kentucky has welcomed over 30,000 refugees since 1994. Now many of these Kentucky residents will have the chance to attend a college or university and earn a bachelor’s degree.

“Displaced and refugee students typically are resilient and resourceful folks,” said Sue Roberts, associate provost for internationalization. “They have had varied life experiences and bring to our campus dimensions of knowledge and diversity that are valuable. It is important that we welcome and support displaced students. So, we are very excited to be partnering with the CPE and KHEAA in this innovative program.”

This scholarship opportunity is open to currently enrolled UK students who meet the eligibility criteria, as well as new students beginning their studies at UK and transfer students who meet the criteria.

Roberts added, “I hope UK faculty, staff and students will spread the word about this new opportunity and encourage potentially eligible students and prospective students, of any age, to learn more about the scholarship.” 

The deadline to apply is Friday, Dec. 9. Current and admitted prospective students interested in the scholarship can apply at by logging in with their linkblue account.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.