Kentucky: Council on Postsecondary Education

Council on Postsecondary Education

Press Release Date:  Monday, November 02, 2009  
Contact Information:  Sue Patrick
Cell: 502-330-6596

A statewide program designed to recruit and graduate former college students with 90 or more credit hours has helped 203 Kentuckians earn a bachelor’s degree since January 2008.

The program, called Project Graduate, is a collaborative effort between the Council on Postsecondary Education and the state’s universities.

“We are delighted that our campuses are paving the way for adult learners to return to college to complete their degrees,” stated Bob King, president of the Council on Postsecondary Education. “It’s incredibly important to the adults, their families and children, and the state’s economic competitiveness.”

King said that campuses have stepped up in a big way to respond to the needs of this segment of adult learners. They offer incentives to encourage adults to re-enroll, high-touch services and a central point of contact at each campus to guide them through the admissions process.

According to campus data collected by the Council on Postsecondary Education, the program is meeting with success. This past spring term, 401 students were enrolled, taking 2,609 credit hours and generating $730,000 in tuition revenue.

During the past summer term, the campuses admitted 211 students who were taking 798 credit hours and generating $299,088 in tuition revenue.

Ten of Kentucky’s independent institutions participate in the program but their participation metrics are not available.

David Lautzenheiser, a University of Kentucky employee and recent Eastern Kentucky University graduate, began his college career in 1980, but as he says, “Life happened.” Life included a car accident that also claimed the life of his brother, followed by a stint in the U.S. Air Force. He returned to EKU following his time in the service to earn a teaching degree only to leave college again.

“I was a senior at this point, but my responsibilities in life required my immediate attention,” Lautzenheiser explained. “This time, I knew that college would soon be a ‘could have been’ for me.”

However, in 1996, Lautzenheiser began working at UK where he would get another opportunity at college. This time he took classes at UK as well as training programs and became a licensed plumber. In June 2008, he learned about Project Graduate through UK’s Cecile McKinney, assistant registrar and director of adult student services, who put him in contact with Lisa Cox, the Project Graduate advisor at EKU, and the rest, as they say, is history.

“Thanks to Project Graduate, I have graduated from college. I also got married this spring. So, what’s next? Project Graduate has opened doors for me to explore other employment options that I would not have without my degree and I am grateful for this opportunity,” he said.

Karen Cropper, who began college at Transylvania University and later transferred to UK, is another recent Project Graduate success. She was taking one class per semester and completed the courses for her major, but was having trouble figuring out the lower-level courses she needed to graduate.

“The Project Graduate program at UK provided invaluable assistance by helping me determine exactly which classes I needed to graduate. Because of that, I was motivated to return to UK and complete my degree,” stated Cropper.

According to the 2000 U.S. Census, more than 500,000 Kentuckians have some college and no degree. State data analyzed by the Council show more than 300,000 Kentucky adults between the ages of 25–50 have some college credit from a Kentucky public institution but no degree. Even more compelling, more than 11,000 of those former students have earned 90 or more credit hours.

To promote Project Graduate, campuses have held open houses, participated in college fairs, issued press releases, secured media interviews, conducted direct mail campaigns, presented to local groups, and distributed information through alumni magazines and Web sites, to cite a few examples.

Project Graduate Campus Advocates

Former students with 90 credit hours or more should contact the campus advocates listed below for more information.

  • Eastern Kentucky University—Lisa Cox,, 859-622-8340
  • Kentucky State University—Roosevelt Shelton,, 502-597-6415
  • Morehead State University—Jill McBride,, 606.783.2000 or (800) 585-6781
  • Murray State University—Lisa Schmidt, 1-800-669-7654 or 270-809-2159
  • Northern Kentucky University—Vicki Culbreth,, 859-392-2401
  • University of Kentucky—Cecile McKinney,, 1-866-900-4685 or 859-257-3802
  • University of Louisville—Carrie Mundorf,, 502-852-4974
  • Western Kentucky University—Rebekah Phillips,, 1-877-WKU GRAD

Visit for a complete listing of participating independent colleges.

To find out more information about Project Graduate, please visit and then click on “Adults.”


Last Updated 11/2/2009