Kentucky: Council on Postsecondary Education

Council on Postsecondary Education

Press Release Date:  Thursday, July 28, 2011  
Contact Information:  Sue Patrick
Cell: 502-330-6596

‘Complete College America’ awards $1 million to assist with state’s online degree program

Governor Steve Beshear today announced Kentucky has been awarded $1 million to fuel policy innovations and reforms aimed at significantly transforming remedial education. The grant is provided by Complete College America as part of its national Completion Innovation Challenge grant competition.

Kentucky will use its grant funds to enhance developmental education opportunities for adults who enroll in the Learn on Demand online program offered through the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS).

“Kentucky’s winning proposal had one of the nation’s most promising strategies to smooth and shorten pathways to college completion, which will save our students precious time and money, and give taxpayers more of what they expect from their hard-earned investments in higher education – college graduates,” Gov. Beshear said.

A national non-profit organization focused solely on working with states to significantly boost college completion, Complete College America established the grant competition to inspire and enhance state efforts. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation provided the funding support for the grant program.

KCTCS’ Learn on Demand, an online learning portal, offers modularized self-paced competency-based degree programs in high-wage, high-demand areas such as nursing, business administration and information technology.

Research shows adults enter college with significantly higher developmental needs than high school graduates but are less likely to enroll in and complete developmental education in a timely fashion, according to KCTCS.

The grant will improve the Learn on Demand program in three essential ways:

  • add academic advising and tutoring technologies, and a customized orientation module for developmental education students;
  • provide focused training and professional development for advisors; and
  • support a communications plan that increases student awareness of Learn on Demand’s degree and credential pathways.

“This grant will enhance our efforts to provide Kentuckians with the opportunity to get a higher education anyplace, anytime and anywhere,” KCTCS President Michael B. McCall said. “The KCTCS Learn On Demand program is perfectly aligned to meet the needs of working adults who have very busy, complicated lives and are not able to fit traditional college on-site classes and programs into their schedules.”

Recent efforts to increase readiness and completion in Kentucky are paying off. Degree and credential production has increased 84 percent since 2001, while the percentage of undergraduates meeting Kentucky’s college readiness standards increased 11 percentage points from 2002-03 to 2008-09, according to the Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE).

“Supporting new pathways for adult learners and providing effective academic support services will significantly improve our efforts to increase college completion, which is the cornerstone of Kentucky’s new strategic agenda for postsecondary and adult education,” said Bob King, president of CPE.

Governors from all 50 states were invited to submit proposals to win one of ten $1 million, 18-month implementation Complete College America grants for innovative, high-impact college completion initiatives. Thirty-three states ultimately entered the highly competitive contest.

“It’s long past time for bold innovation in higher education to remove unnecessary obstacles to success, fix broken policies that hold students back, speed achievement and redesign pathways to college graduation for the new majority of students who must balance work and school,” said Stan Jones, president of Complete College America.


Last Updated 8/2/2011