Grammy-nominated artist Buffalo Stille from hip hop group “Nappy Roots” signed on to help promote the Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship. During today’s virtual press conference hosted by Kentucky Community and Technical College Systems (KCTCS), Stille recalled his experiences as a college student and the struggles many face today to fund their education.
Stille said he was just like any other ordinary student in college before he got signed to Atlantic Records in 1998. But because he spent so much time on tour, clocking more than 200 shows per year, he waited until 2017 to return to college.
“When you’re on the road and doing your career, I’m a rapper so you can imagine, school was the last thing on my mind at that point. But what made me decide to go back was just realizing where I am now as a 40-year-old hip hop artist, just hoping I can transition into something else. But I’m not planning on retiring anytime soon.”
He said his mom pleaded with him to get a degree, and he promised to do so eventually. It was 2019 when he made good on that promise and graduated from the University of Louisville with a degree in organizational leadership.
Stille recalled student loans and students incurring debt in pursuit of an education appeared to be encouraged when he was a college student the first time around. So when he heard about the Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship, he wanted to help spread awareness.
“When I got involved in this program, and the fact that people could get a scholarship without having to be an athlete, I was really intrigued by doing this because I know how important it is to not have the burden of debt over your head when you graduate from college,” he said.
The Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship was launched in 2017, aiming to help Kentuckians afford an industry-recognized certificate or diploma by earning up to 60 credit hours, tuition free.
The President of the Kentucky Council of Postsecondary Education Dr. Aaron Thompson during today’s conference said Kentucky is now reporting 49.1% of adults have a college credential. He said he hopes to see that increase to 60% by the year 2030.
“You have to remember, a certificate and a two-year degree is also college. Those are in fact good educational degrees that this scholarship helps provide for. There are hundreds of technical programs in Kentucky that lead to high waged jobs,” said Thompson.
There are more than 350 course options available with the scholarship program, and certifications can be received in as little as four months. Participating colleges include the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) Campbellsville University, Galen College of Nursing, MedQuest College, Northern Kentucky University, Western Kentucky University, and Eastern Kentucky University University of Kentucky, Sullivan University, and University of the Cumberlands.
Kentuckians with a high school diploma, students working on their GED, and anyone without an associate degree or higher are eligible for the Work Ready Kentucky scholarship. Prospective students will need to fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) before they can apply.
Those interested in the program may call 833-711-WRKS for more information. Stille also announced his new single “Cowboy Hat” which is free to download.