FRANKFORT — For the past five years, Bluegrass Community and Technical College (BCTC), The Links organization and Kentucky State University (KSU) have collaborated for the BLINKS transfer initiative, which allows students from BCTC with at least a 2.8-grade point average to transfer to KSU with a scholarship. The scholarship offers full tuition and housing for up to two years. The scholarship allows the students to complete their undergraduate degree.

Students who are selected for the program are identified one year before they transfer. Throughout that year, the student is involved in tutoring and different activities, and the program looks for other grant money that may fund books or other expenses.

The program began with former KSU President Dr. Mary Sias when there was funding for initiatives that linked community colleges and HBCUs. The first few years of the BLINKS program was so successful that it still goes on, even though the funding for it has stopped.

Today, over 20 students have completed the program. “The retention of these students is great. Most of them come out on the honor roll,” said Charlene Walker, vice president for Multiculturalism & Inclusion at BCTC. “Most of the students have that giving spirit and are here for more than just the scholarship.”

There will be six students graduating at this year’s commencement on Saturday, May 13 at the Frankfort Convention Center, and they include Harry Momo, Diamond McMullen, Lizbeth Garcia, Melody Spriggs, Amine Turhalli, and Patrick Raymond.

“It’s been a great program. It’s been a great working relationship,” Walker said. “It’s very beneficial to these students, and I would hate for it not to continue because it’s really been so beneficial to so many.”

—Shantel Booth