DES MOINES — A new state program is covering tuition costs and fees this semester for more than 5,800 college students seeking degrees in high-demand jobs.

Governor Kim Reynolds proposed the “Last Dollar Scholar” program to fill financial aid gaps for some community and private college students.

Sarah Keehn, a mother of six who raises livestock, is one recipient. “Having this available to my family and myself has been a huge helpful kind of initiative,” she says. “With this it allows me to attend school online and still be a mom.”

Keehn is studying at North Iowa Area Community College to be a certified medical assistant.

Earlier this year, lawmakers put up $13 million to fund the program. More than half was used for the fall semester and Reynolds expects the rest to be awarded in the spring. Lawmakers will again consider funding for the program next year and will likely work on fixing an issue that’s kept many 19-year-olds from qualifying.