FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) -- The House has passed a bill that would make college students from the coalfields eligible for special scholarships.
The Thursday vote was unanimous. The bill will now proceed to the Senate for consideration.
Democratic state Rep. Leslie Combs of Pikeville, the bill's sponsor, said the scholarships of up to $6,600 a year would be available only to college juniors and seniors in 34 counties.
The initiative is a compromise that came from a failed push last year to create a four-year public university in the Appalachian coalfields. Lawmakers saw that proposal, intended to boost the number of college graduates in the coalfields, as too expensive considering Kentucky's tight state budget.
The money for the scholarships will come from a tax on mined coal.