Kentucky: Council on Postsecondary Education

Enrollment up 5th straight year at Kentucky colleges and universities

Release date: February 19, 2004
Contact: Sue Patrick
Phone: (502) 573-1555

(Frankfort, KY) Enrollment in Kentucky's colleges and universities climbed for the fifth straight year last fall to a historic high of 229,061 students, up almost 8,000 students from the previous year, according to an official report released by the Council on Postsecondary Education.

Since postsecondary education reform began in 1998, enrollment has grown by 44,215 students, representing a 23.9 percent gain. The enrollment growth has been consistent among both public and independent sectors and across all levels, including two-year, four-year and graduate-level programs.

"We are exceptionally pleased that more citizens than ever before are choosing to invest in a brighter future for themselves, their families, and our state by enrolling in college," said Tom Layzell, president of the Council. "When these students graduate, they will earn substantially more money over their lifetime, pay more taxes to support public programs, live healthier lives, and read more often to their children," he added.

According to the Mortensen Research Seminar on Public Policy Analysis of Opportunity for Postsecondary Education, the median income by educational level is:

  • Less than high school--$22,350;
  • High school graduate--$29,187;
  • Some college--$34,340;
  • Associate's degree--$36,399;
  • Bachelor's degree-$46,969;
  • Master's degree--$56,589;
  • Doctorate--$75,182; and
  • Professional degree--$82,421.

Highlights of the Council's enrollment report include:

  • Of the total enrollment, 200,604 were undergraduate students, 23,546 were graduate students, 3,491 were enrolled in professional studies, and 1,420 were pursuing post-graduate work.
  • Four regional universities, Western Kentucky University, Northern Kentucky University, Murray State University, and Eastern Kentucky University reported the largest first-time freshman classes ever.
  • Among the undergraduate students, 174,081 (87 percent) were Kentucky residents, 113,211 (56 percent) were female, 61,814 (31 percent) were 25 years of age or older, 15,461 (8 percent) were African-American, and 70,204 (35 percent) were enrolled part-time.
  • Public two-year colleges enrolled 80,695 students; public four-year institutions enrolled 117,926 students; and independent institutions enrolled 30,440 students.
  • Over 14,000 Kentucky high school students were dually enrolled at postsecondary institutions.


Kentucky's Postsecondary Education System encompasses nine public institutions and numerous independent institutions and represents 229,061 students, 538,866 Kentucky alumni, and 275,108 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 for their families.


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Last Updated 8/3/2005