Jo Carole Ellis and John Dougherty

Jo Carole Ellis of Frankfort, Kentucky named CEO of KHEAA, KHESLC

FRANKFORT, KY — Jo Carole Ellis of Frankfort has been named the new executive director and chief executive officer of the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA) and the Kentucky Higher Education Student Loan Corporation (KHESLC).

Ellis' appointment was approved by the KHEAA and KHESLC board of directors in a meeting at Frankfort on July 18, 2023.

"I am honored to be entrusted with the leadership of KHEAA and KHESLC and would like to thank the Board of Directors for this opportunity," Ellis said. "I am excited to return to the organizations and look forward to working alongside the board and staff to further their mission of helping Kentucky students and families achieve postsecondary education and success."

Ellis previously worked for KHEAA for 17 years, serving as program director for the Kentucky Education Savings Plan Trust (KESPT) and Kentucky's Affordable Prepaid Tuition (KAPT) programs, student aid branch manager and government relations director. She most recently served as committee staff administrator at the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission. In that role, she was the administrator of the Education Committee, drafted education-related legislation and advised legislators on education issues. Ellis has a bachelor's in journalism from Eastern Kentucky University.

"Jo Carole's exceptional qualifications position her as a distinguished education policy advocate, making her a perfect fit for this role," said KHEAA board chair, John Dougherty. "She has a long history of demonstrated commitment to enhancing student access to higher education. She is passionate about the work she does, and we look forward to working alongside her as she leads the organizations into the future."

KHEAA is the state agency that administers the Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship (KEES), need-based grants and other programs to help students pay their higher education expenses. Kentucky Lottery funds pay for many of those programs. For more information about Kentucky scholarships and grants, visit; write KHEAA at PO Box 798, Frankfort, KY 40602; or call 800-928-8926.

In addition, KHEAA administers the KY Saves 529 program, which allows families to save for college. For more information about KY Saves 529, visit

KHESLC is the Kentucky not-for-profit agency committed to offering students/borrowers with the lowest possible cost assistance in achieving their higher education dreams by offering the Advantage Education Loan program. For more information about Advantage Education Loans, visit


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