Local high school seniors find out that they are eligible for Georgetown College's Legacy and Legends Scholarship on Thursday at the college. (Photo by McKenna Horsley)

The offer of Georgetown College’s full-tuition scholarship could change the economy of Frankfort in the next few years. 

Last month, Georgetown College, a private four-year institution about a half-hour from Frankfort, announced that current third through 12th graders would be eligible for the Legacy and Legends scholarship upon their graduation from any public, private or home school in Franklin County and acceptance at the college. Students must also live on campus. The scholarship is worth $160,000, which would cover a student’s tuition for four years.

Jonathan Sands Wise, the vice president of enrollment management at Georgetown, said 24 students who live in Franklin County have applied to the college since the scholarship announcement, including 13 on the day of the announcement. 

“We would expect that to increase substantially as students get back into school mode in January,” he said. Local schools will have a special visit day at Georgetown on Jan. 28. 

According to data from the U.S. Census, about 30% of adults in Franklin County have a bachelor’s degree or higher, which is above the state’s rate of about 24%. With the scholarship, said Kentucky Capital Development Corp. President Terri Bradshaw, that number could grow. 

Georgetown’s scholarship gives Franklin County an opportunity to not only raise the education level of its populace but further develop its workforce and economic development, Bradshaw said. For businesses looking to expand or relocation, education is often the top site selection criteria. 

The scholarship is also another incentive for families with school-aged children to move to Frankfort and Franklin County. KCDC had already planned a 2020 housing assessment and needs study, but the agency moved that to a top priority after Georgetown’s announcement, as “that program should increase the need for housing in our community immensely over the next 10 years,” Bradshaw said. 

“It’s a real opportunity,” Franklin County Schools superintendent Mark Kopp said.

For several families, it makes sending a student to college much more affordable. Room and board, which is $2,450 a semester for the lowest housing option and $1,740 a semester for the lowest on-campus meal plan, can be paid for with a student’s KEES, or Kentucky Education Excellence Scholarship, federal Pell grants or other financial aid.

Kopp said that if the schools within Frankfort and Franklin County thrive, that brings more growth to the area, in terms of population, the economy and more. 

“The opportunities that we can provide in Franklin County Schools are unmatched,” he said. 

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