Council on Postsecondary Education
Kentucky’s public colleges and universities award 9 percent more degrees and credentials
(FRANKFORT, Ky.)--Kentucky’s public postsecondary institutions conferred 37,371 college degrees, certificates and diplomas during the 2004-05 academic year, an increase of 9 percent more than the previous year.
“Our postsecondary education system is working hard to ensure more Kentuckians are earning certificates and degrees,” said Dr. Thomas Layzell, president of the Council on Postsecondary Education. “These numbers represent exemplary progress throughout the system, but we still have a long way to go to raise educational attainment to the national average,” he added.
Degree attainment advanced at every level--bachelor’s degrees, 3.3 percent; associate’s degrees, 4.7 percent; master’s degrees, 4.6 percent; and doctoral degrees, 14.5 percent. Certificates increased by 33.6 percent.
Seven of the eight public universities made progress in the number of total degrees awarded compared to the previous year. Six of the eight also awarded more bachelor’s degrees.
The Kentucky Community and Technical College System posted the greatest overall increase with a 23.6 percent gain in the number of credentials awarded, including 20.1 percent for associate’s degrees and 34.1 percent for certificates.
House Bill 1, approved by the 1997 Kentucky General Assembly, calls for Kentucky to raise its standard of living and quality of life to meet or exceed the national average by 2020 through increased educational attainment at all levels.
The Council’s strategic plan, A Public Agenda for Postsecondary and Adult Education 2005-2010, states that Kentucky needs to nearly double the number of Kentuckians ages 25-64 with at least a four-year degree to reach the national average.
“We must continue to invest in our postsecondary education system to stay on track with our efforts to raise educational attainment to the national average by 2020,” said Layzell.
Layzell said if Kentucky reaches its educational attainment goal of 800,000 working-age Kentuckians with at least a bachelor’s degree, it could expect a cumulative $5.3 billion increase in tax revenue and a $71 billion increase in personal income, according to projections.
“It is urgent that we now quicken this pace to achieve these goals,” added Layzell.
Since 2000-01, the number of credentials public institutions awarded in the state has grown by 45.4 percent and has moved the state closer to its goal. The rate of growth for associate’s degrees is 42.4 percent, bachelor’s degrees--13.5 percent, master’s/specialist degrees--30.5 percent, and doctoral degrees--37.6 percent.
Ten-year trend data for degrees awarded at Kentucky’s public institutions is available at http://www.cpe.ky.gov/research/degrees/. Data from the independent institutions will be available prior to the end of the year.
Kentucky's postsecondary education system encompasses eight public institutions and the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, numerous independent institutions and Kentucky Adult Education. The system represents 231,612 students, 538,866 Kentucky alumni and 294,896 GED recipients. When Kentuckians earn postsecondary degrees, their skills improve and their wages go up; they are more likely to lead healthy lives and be engaged in their communities; and they build better futures for themselves and their families.