Kentucky: Council on Postsecondary Education

Council on Postsecondary Education

Press Release Date:  Thursday, May 22, 2008  
Contact Information:  Sue Patrick
Cell: 502-330-6596

     Kentucky’s public colleges and universities have made steady progress in improving the status of African Americans in postsecondary education, according to a report that will be presented tomorrow to the Council on Postsecondary Education at its meeting in Frankfort.

     The Kentucky Plan for Equal Opportunity System Report, 2003 – 2006, shows that enrollment and graduation of African American students has steadily increased, and postsecondary institutions are employing more African Americans as professional staff.

     The Kentucky Plan for Equal Opportunity tracks the status of resident African American students, faculty and professional staff at Kentucky’s eight public universities and the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. The report highlights progress on seven objectives for public universities and four objectives for KCTCS related to increasing the enrollment, retention, graduation and employment of African Americans.

     “The growth, though incomplete, has been meaningful and deserves recognition,” said Sherron Jackson, the Council’s assistant vice president for equal opportunity and finance. “We must continue to expand college access to all Kentuckians so that everyone has an equal opportunity to achieve their educational and professional goals.”

     Key findings of the report include:

·    The enrollment of African American undergraduates increased from an average of 7.0 percent in 1982 to 8.3 percent in 2006, surpassing the representation of African Americans in the total Kentucky population (7.3 percent).

·    The enrollment of African Americans in graduate and professional school has experienced steady growth, but not in sufficient numbers to build the education pipeline needed in Kentucky, particularly in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math.

·    While challenges exist in retaining first-year students, the rate of retention of all African American undergraduates in the system has consistently grown, increasing from 71.5 percent in 2001 to 76.1 percent in 2005.

·    The share of bachelor’s degrees awarded to African Americans increased from 4.4 percent of the total in 1979-80 to 6.5 percent in 2005-06. While graduation rates of African Americans have gradually increased, the system graduated no more than 37.7 percent of the African Americans enrolled between 2002 and 2006.

·    Representation of African Americans in the highest level of employment at postsecondary institutions increased 9.6 percent from 2001 to 2006. The largest increase was among professional staff, which grew from 6.7 percent of the total in 2001 to 7.9 percent in 2006. African Americans continue to have a relatively small representation among faculty.

     The Council and the postsecondary institutions have multiple programs underway to continue the progress of African Americans in our higher education system:

·    A statewide diversity study, commissioned by the Council in March 2007, is being conducted by the Harvard Civil Rights Project. The final report on the study will be completed by June 30, 2008.

·    The Council’s Committee on Equal Opportunities oversees Kentucky’s desegregation and equal opportunities plans for postsecondary education. The Committee reviews progress and makes recommendations for equal opportunities policy improvements to the Council.

·    The Governor’s Minority Student College Preparation Program (GMSCPP) provides academic enrichment activities for middle and junior high school minority students to help prepare and encourage them to go to college. Of 580 GMSCPP participants from the 2002-03 and 2003-04 program, a total of 120 participants (20.7 percent) enrolled in college courses after graduating. In addition, 43 of the 120 students enrolled in dual credit programs as high school students.

·    The Academically Proficient African American High School Junior and Senior Conference gives Kentucky’s public and independent colleges and universities an opportunity to recruit academically promising students early in their junior and senior year. Participation at this conference reached an all-time high in 2007 with 300 African American juniors and seniors and 100 parents attending.

·    Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) is a federally funded program that targets middle school students in low-income schools to help them prepare for college through a variety of services including extra instruction, college visits, mentoring, training for school personnel and information for parents.

·     The Southern Regional Education Board’s Doctoral Scholars Program provides minority doctoral scholars with academic, personal and financial support while earning their Ph.D. and assists with job placement after graduation. Since its inception, Kentucky’s Doctoral Scholars Program has served 79 students. As of October 2007, the program has produced 34 graduates with 37 students currently enrolled. Kentucky public and independent colleges and universities also have access to over 400 program scholars for recruitment into faculty or administrative positions on their campus.

      To view the The Kentucky Plan for Equal Opportunity System Report, 2003 – 2006, see the 'Featured Links section of the Council Web site at



Kentucky is in the middle of the most dramatic economic and social transformation in its history. Double the Numbers: Kentucky’s Plan to Increase College Graduates explains that increasing bachelor’s degrees is the quickest, most direct way for Kentucky to increase its economic prosperity. College graduates earn more, are healthier, create a more robust economy, and enjoy a higher quality of life. The Double the Numbers plan outlines five statewide strategies for Kentucky to achieve this ambitious, but achievable goal. While this effort will not be easy, the benefits of Doubling the Numbers will be felt by all Kentuckians.



Last Updated 5/22/2008