Council on Postsecondary Education
14 EARN DEGREES THROUGH PROJECT GRADUATE; 232 ENROLL
Note to editors: Campus representatives and students are available for interview. Contact information for university representatives is attached.
Project Graduate teams at Kentucky’s public universities have helped 14 adults return to college to earn their bachelor’s degree this spring, according to preliminary data gathered by the Council on Postsecondary Education. Three more Project Graduate students will graduate this summer and 232 students have enrolled for summer or fall classes.
Launched by the Council in November 2007, Project Graduate is a collaborative outreach effort with Kentucky’s eight public universities, the Kentucky Community and Technical College System and the Association of Independent Kentucky Colleges and Universities. Each participating college or university is offering incentives and services to former students with 90 or more credit hours to return and complete their degree.
“Many of our first graduates needed only one class to get their degree or simply needed to complete the necessary paperwork,” said Dan Flanagan, vice-chair of the Council on Postsecondary Education. “I commend our colleges and universities for their exceptional efforts to bring these students back and help them be successful in finishing what they started.”
Project Graduate incentives vary by institution but can include tuition assistance, application fee waivers, personal advising and simplified admissions paperwork. Response teams at each institution ensure those who respond and qualify can take advantage of incentives and quickly navigate the admissions process.
According to the 2000 U.S. Census, more than 500,000 Kentuckians have some college and no degree. State data analyzed by the Council show more than 300,000 Kentucky adults between the ages of 25–50 have some college credit from a Kentucky public institution but no degree. Even more compelling, more than 11,000 of those former students have earned 90 or more credit hours.
The Council completed a telephone survey of 1,600 former students of Kentucky’s public postsecondary institutions to learn about their needs, motivations and barriers to returning to college. The study found half of respondents were somewhat or very likely to consider returning to college in the next two to three years.
“We are seeing an overwhelming response to our initial efforts to reach out to these folks, and we’re just getting started,” said Sue Patrick, communications director of the Council on Postsecondary Education and statewide lead for the Project Graduate program. “Clearly, what our research predicted is being confirmed--many adults are ready to come back to college to finish their degree.”
For more information about Project Graduate, please visit www.projectgraduate.org.
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.