Council on Postsecondary Education
CPE PRESIDENT BRAD COWGILL BECKONS KENTUCKY ADULTS BACK TO COLLEGE
Brad Cowgill, interim president of the Council on Postsecondary Education, joined with representatives from Kentucky’s public colleges and universities in Frankfort today to launch a statewide outreach to former students. Eight public universities, in partnership with the Kentucky Community and Technical College System and the Association of Independent Kentucky Colleges and Universities, will pilot Kentucky’s Project Graduate program to offer incentives and services to former students with 90 or more credit hours to return and complete their degree.
Statewide, more than 500,000 Kentuckians have some college and no degree, according to the 2000 U.S. Census. 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 public institution but no degree. Even more compelling, more than 11,000 of those former students have earned 90 or more credit hours.
“To keep pace with a changing world and increase their earning power, more adults are going back to finish their degree to advance in their careers,” said Brad Cowgill, president of the Council on Postsecondary Education. “We know these folks juggle hectic schedules with work, family and other commitments and our institutions are prepared to make their re-entry as quick and seamless as possible.”
Last month, the Council launched a statewide plan to double the number of college graduates in the state by 2020. The plan sets a goal to increase the percent of adults participating in college from 3.6 percent to 4.5 percent in 2020.
“Today we take yet another step in putting the Double the Numbers plan into action,” added Cowgill. “This is relatively new ground for most postsecondary institutions and certainly for most states. Kentucky is one of a few states that has launched a statewide effort to bring adult students back to college.”
Beginning in January 2008, each institution will contact their former students identified as Project Graduate candidates with an offer of various campus incentives, which can include tuition assistance, application fee waivers, personal advising and simplified admissions paperwork. Response teams at each institution will ensure those who respond can take advantage of incentives and quickly navigate the admissions process. Once the outreach effort launches, qualified Kentuckians can also enroll in the program by visiting the Project Graduate page on www.GoHigherKy.org.
The Council recently completed a telephone survey of 1,600 former students of Kentucky’s public postsecondary institutions to learn about their needs and motivations for returning to college. The study found half of respondents were somewhat or very likely to return to college in the next two to three years.
Project Graduate is one of the first in a series of outreach efforts coordinated by the Council as a part of a statewide college access initiative funded by the 2006 General Assembly. Moving forward, the Council will be working with institutional representatives to develop a broader, statewide strategy to reach out to all Kentucky adults with some college.
Kentucky is in the middle of the most dramatic economic and social transformation in its history. Double the Numbers: Kentucky’s Plan to Increase College Graduates explains that increasing bachelor’s degrees is the quickest, most direct way for Kentucky to increase its economic prosperity. College graduates earn more, are healthier, create a more robust economy, and enjoy a higher quality of life. The Double the Numbers plan outlines five statewide strategies for Kentucky to achieve this ambitious, but achievable goal. While this effort will not be easy, the benefits of Doubling the Numbers will be felt by all Kentuckians.