Kentucky: Council on Postsecondary Education

Council on Postsecondary Education

Press Release Date:  Monday, September 18, 2006  
Contact Information:  Sue Patrick
502-573-1555 ext. 308
Cell: 502-330-6596

(FRANKFORT, Ky.) -- The Council on Postsecondary Education approved preliminary 2020 target goals for bachelor degree production for the state’s eight public universities and the independent sector at its meeting Sunday in Northern Kentucky. The target goals call for a 4.5 percent annual growth rate in bachelor degree production over the next 14 years for Kentucky to reach the national average in educational attainment, as legislated by the Kentucky Postsecondary Education Improvement Act of 1997 (House Bill 1).

The Council projects that 33,669 bachelor’s degrees will need to be awarded, an 89 percent increase over the 17,811 bachelor’s degrees awarded in 2004-05.

“Getting to the national average in educational attainment will require the best of all of us and at all levels of the educational pipeline,” said Council President Tom Layzell.

To reach the national average by 2020, Kentucky must nearly double the number of its workforce with a bachelor’s degree. In 2000, 19 percent, or roughly 400,000 Kentuckians, held a bachelor’s degree. The goal for 2020 is 32 percent, or nearly 800,000. With no changes to current production levels, Kentucky will fall short by approximately 211,000 degree holders.

Layzell said the degree targets serve as a starting point for additional planning efforts, including the development of a new funding model. “These targets are the cornerstone of the new funding model,” he said.

Over the next year, the Council will develop initial cost estimates to better understand the long-term investment needed to double degree production, including the cost of additional faculty and staff, facilities, technology and support services. This process will also involve a reassessment of the state’s postsecondary education funding policy; refocused efforts on productivity, efficiency, and resource reallocation; continued efforts to better align state appropriations, tuition policy, and financial aid; and an analysis of statewide campus facility needs.

The Council also approved preliminary 2020 enrollment goals that call for a 60 percent increase in undergraduate enrollment. The enrollment goals will inform an ongoing statewide facilities condition study by identifying the infrastructure needed to reach the goals of the higher education reform legislation.

The Council worked with a national consultant to develop the 2020 projections model that analyzes multiple education data based primarily upon historical ratios with minor adjustments for projected changes in regional population by 2020. Data included the number of high school students, transfer and adult students as well as college-going rates, retention rates and graduation rates needed to close the educational attainment gap and significantly increase the bachelor degree production.

The Council consulted with the leadership of all public postsecondary institutions for input, and will continue to work with institutions to further refine the preliminary model. 

Modifications and adjustments to the model are ongoing, and the targets will be recalculated in 2008.        

In other business, the Council:

· Approved a new strategic plan for the Kentucky Virtual University that positions it as a major contributor to raising educational attainment across the commonwealth. KYVU will play a vital role in supporting Kentucky’s virtual learning efforts as an advocate for online learning, convener of partners and catalyst to inform planning and policy.

· Received fall 2006 preliminary enrollment data showing that Kentucky’s public and independent postsecondary institutions reached another all-time high this year with 239,445 students, an overall increase of 1.7 percent over fall 2005. Since 1998 total postsecondary education enrollment has increased 29.5 percent. Official data will be reported in January.

· Approved a $200,000 Regional Stewardship Trust Fund proposal from Northern Kentucky University to build institutional capacity in three priority areas. Two new faculty members will be hired in early childhood education, two in informatics, and one in public health and health education. Each of the five new faculty members will be assigned half-time to teaching (supported with existing university funds) and half-time to public engagement work (supported with regional stewardship funds).

· Heard an update on three new statewide educational technology initiatives including the creation of the Kentucky Education Network to connect K-12 schools with colleges and universities across the state; the establishment of a statewide BlackBoard license consortia to give institutions access to any learning resource at any time from any place; and the advancement of Kentucky’s participation in Internet2, a national research and development consortium led by over 200 U.S. universities to develop and deploy advanced network applications and technologies.

· Approved a new master’s program for Morehead State University. The Master of Arts in Education—Educational Technology will be a completely Web-based program designed as a rank change option for current P-12 teachers and will provide students with the skills needed to be a school technology coordinator or resource teacher.


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 239,445 students, 538,866 Kentucky alumni and 294,896 GED graduates. 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


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Last Updated 9/20/2006