Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education

Kentucky's 60x30 Goal

60% of the population with degree or credential by 2030

Why it matters

Of all jobs in Kentucky, 63% (1,302,000 jobs) will require some postsecondary training beyond high school in 2031. However, less than half of the state's population have a certificate or degree. To meet this growing need for more highly educated citizens, the Council set the ambitious goal of 60% of the population with a postsecondary credential by 2030.

Kentucky fifth in the nation for gains of degree holders

Between 2010 and 2020, Kentucky improved educational attainment at a rapid pace. According to a recent study conducted by Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce, Kentucky is ranked fifth nationally for its near 8pp gain in the percentage of the population with an associate degree or higher, and tied with Michigan at twenty-third for growth residents with a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Source: Learning and Earning by Degrees. Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce
Source: Learning and Earning by Degrees. Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce
The Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce estimates that Kentucky's decade of educational attanment progress will result in $173 billion in net lifetime earnings gains for the state.

Strategic agenda focus

In 2016, set the attainment goal into its strategic agenda, Stronger by Degrees, which identified high-level objectives, strategies, and metrics to improve college readiness, enrollment and student success.

While Kentucky was making significant progress, that progress was not seen across all populations. Residents who are classified as low income or underrepresented minorities experience severe achievement gaps affecting attainment rates.

In 2022, CPE unveiled Higher Education Matters: A Statewide Strategic Agenda for Kentucky Postsecondary Education to serve as a blueprint for meeting the goal with equity in mind. All strategies in the agenda must ensure at-risk students are provided access to postsecondary credentials, as well as the academic, social and emotional supports to succeed.

Kentucky's current levels of attainment

As a result, Kentucky is making significant progress toward its 60x30 goal, with current attainment, which includes certificates or higher, at 55.1%. 

Source: CPE Data, Research and Advanced Analytics Unit.


Kentucky's educational attainment progress has been slow but steady, based upon the last five years for which data are available. Increases include:

Source: CPE Data, Research and Advanced Analytics Unit.

How we measure certificate attainment

Currently, U.S. census data does not count the number of Americans with undergraduate certificates or industry certifications. Instead, these individuals tend to fall in the "Some College" category, given that college coursework was completed but no formal degree awarded. To estimate the number of Kentuckians who hold these credentials, CPE's data staff disaggregated the American Community Survey's "Some College" counts for Kentucky by wage. Those Kentuckians making at or above $36,145, considered the median wage for certificate holders, have been estimated as the certificate holder population.

Last Updated: 4/25/2024