Council on Postsecondary Education
Kentucky’s public colleges and universities confer record number of degrees and credentials
Note to Media: Detailed information by institution is available at link below
(FRANKFORT, Ky.) – Kentucky’s public postsecondary institutions reached a significant milestone by conferring nearly 24,000 degrees, diplomas and certificates during spring commencement exercises. This historic high exceeded last year’s record-setting number by 19.9 percent, based on preliminary information released today by the Council on Postsecondary Education.
Since 2001, the total number of degrees and credentials conferred by the public institutions during spring commencement has climbed 68 percent. More than half of all degrees are awarded in the spring.
The number of bachelor’s degrees awarded increased by 12.3 percent from 7,250 in Spring 2005 to 8,144 in Spring 2006. Since Spring 1998, the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded has increased nearly 34 percent.
The number of credentials awarded this spring increased at all levels: diplomas-36.7 percent, certificates-49.3 percent, associate degrees-7.9 percent, master’s-9.7 percent, doctoral degrees-1.8 percent, and first-professional-3.4 percent.
Kentucky’s Public Agenda calls for nearly doubling the number of Kentuckians ages 25-64 with at least a bachelor’s degree over the next 15 years to reach the projected national average.
“This is a tremendous step forward in our pursuit to raise the standard of living for Kentuckians through higher levels of educational attainment,” stated Council President Tom Layzell.
“A well-educated and highly trained workforce will stimulate Kentucky’s economy and help our state keep and recruit the types of employers who provide higher-paying jobs,” he added.
Seven of the state’s eight public universities awarded more bachelor’s degrees than last year. Eastern Kentucky University and Western Kentucky University posted the largest gains in bachelor’s degrees compared to Spring 2005. EKU reported a 17.9 percent increase and WKU a 27.6 percent. For WKU, this represents a 75 percent increase in the number of bachelor’s degrees conferred in spring commencement since 2001.
Layzell said that there is a public and individual benefit when a state’s educational attainment levels increase. Individuals are more likely to lead healthier lives, engage in their community, earn more money over their lifetime, pay more taxes to support the public good, and be less likely to be incarcerated or unemployed.
According to the Council’s Public Agenda and based on data from the Kentucky Long-Term Policy Research Center, Kentucky could expect a cumulative increase of more than $5.3 billion in revenue by reaching the national average in educational attainment by 2020.
Information from the independent institutions will not be available until late this summer.