A new degree and credential production report issued by the Council on Postsecondary Education shows Kentucky’s public and independent colleges and universities awarded a record 72,936 degrees and credentials in the 2017-18 academic year, representing a 4% annual gain and an 11.4% increase over five years.
The five-year report describes the state of postsecondary education degree and credential production between the 2013-14 and 2017-18 academic years.
Big gains were made in closing achievement gaps for underrepresented minority (URM) students. The URM credentials increased 7.2% over one year and 23% over five years. Over the five-year period, the greatest undergraduate gains for URM students were in bachelor’s degrees at 23.9%, followed by associate degrees at 23.4%. At the graduate level, doctorates grew 42.5%, followed by master’s degrees at 22.3%.
The area of study with the largest growth in awards was STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) with a one-year increase of 9.2% at the undergraduate level and 55.1% at the graduate level. Over five years, STEM awards grew 45.4% at the undergraduate level, while nearly doubling at the graduate level with an 85.3% increase.
“This report is telling me that higher education is doing its job by driving success for all student populations while meeting critical workforce needs that will help power the state’s economy,” said CPE President Aaron Thompson.
“I want to give kudos and thanks to all of our campuses for making such impressive progress, especially with declining state resources at our public institutions and modest to declining enrollment,” he added.
- Kentucky is on track to meet the educational attainment goal of 60% of Kentuckians with college credentials by 2030. Total undergraduate credentials increased 2.8% in 2017-18, surpassing the 1.7% growth needed to achieve the educational attainment goal.
- Short-term certificates issued by all institutions grew 5.8% over one year and climbed 18.3% over five years.
- Low-income, underrepresented minority students experienced gains in every undergraduate credential category. Short-term certificates grew 10.4%, while associate degrees increased 20.8%. Bachelor’s degrees were up 18.3%.
- Associate degrees experienced a one-year decrease of 2% and a five-year decrease of 1.8%.
- At the baccalaureate level, education degrees did not grow over the one-year period and experienced the largest five-year decline at 13.2%.
The report is available at http://cpe.ky.gov/data/reports/2019degreesreport.pdf.
The Council on Postsecondary Education is leading efforts to get more Kentuckians more highly educated. By 2030, at least 60 percent of working-age adults in Kentucky will need to have earned a postsecondary education degree or credential to meet expected workforce demands.