OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR AND COUNCIL ON POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION
Southern Governor’s Association to support Kentucky’s college-access initiative
(FRANKFORT, Ky.)--Kentucky is one of nine states to receive a grant from the Southern Governors’ Association to support a college-access initiative aimed at helping more students complete high school ready for college and work. The SGA grant is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The project, called “Education in the South — A Passport to Opportunity,” will provide the Council on Postsecondary Education with technical assistance over two years to develop outreach efforts that will motivate young people and their families to take the steps needed to complete high school at high levels of achievement. The Southern Regional Education Board is also a grant partner.
“Kentucky’s emerging generation of school kids will benefit from this and other generous education grants due to the fact they target our biggest challenge: graduating kids from high school,” Governor Ernie Fletcher said. “For this vital support, we are truly grateful.”
Kentucky’s previous investment in college-access outreach saw significant payoff. Adult education enrollment increased 144 percent since 2000. Since 1998, the number of students taking college classes while still in high school increased five-fold, and the ratio of students scoring a three or higher on Advanced Placement exams increased by more than half.
“We must ensure more students are prepared for postsecondary education,” said Dr. Tom Layzell, president of the Council on Postsecondary Education. “This grant will help us effectively communicate to students what they need to do to be sufficiently prepared to pursue their educational goals beyond high school.”
USA Today recently recognized Kentucky’s college-access efforts citing the “Go Higher Kentucky” campaign of 2000-04, coordinated by the Council on Postsecondary Education. Other states, including Tennessee, have used promotional materials from the Go Higher Kentucky campaign hoping for similar positive results. The Council has requested state funding in 2006-08 for a second phase of Go Higher Kentucky and plans to use the funding from the Passport to Opportunity initiative to leverage state support for a planned launch in 2006.
The Passport to Opportunity initiative is a result of a $978,000 grant awarded to the Southern Governor’s Association by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The SGA is collaborating with the Southern Regional Education Board’s Go Alliance to administer the grant program.
The SREB established the SREB Go Alliance to help states share expensive media materials and run more effective communications campaigns; It is supported by its member states and is sponsored by the College Board and ACT Inc. For more information about the SREB Go Alliance, visit http://www.goallianceonline.org/AboutUs.asp.
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.