Kentucky Degrees Up 32.5%
Kentucky’s public and independent colleges and universities conferred a record 65,829 degrees and credentials during the 2015-16 year, representing a 2.7 percent increase from the previous year and a 32.5 percent gain over 10 years.

Council President Bob King said, “All of our institutions have been implementing strategic initiatives that have helped more students graduate with high-quality degrees and credentials. These efforts are building the size and quality of Kentucky’s workforce, and will help grow the state’s economy.”

One-year highlights:

  • Degrees and credentials conferred by the public institutions increased 2.6 percent from 2014-15 to 2015-16.
  • During the same time, degrees conferred at the independent institutions grew 3.1 percent overall.
  • Bachelor degree production was up 3.6 percent at the public universities, led by 12 percent gains at Murray State University and Morehead State University, a 7 percent gain at the University of Kentucky, and a 4 percent increase at Western Kentucky University.
  • At the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, certificates grew 4.7 percent over 2014-15, while associate degrees increased only 0.3 percent over one year.

Ten-year highlights:

Undergraduate credential growth
Graduate degree growth
  • KCTCS has continued its extraordinary growth in both associate degrees and certificates conferred, up 49 percent and 59 percent respectively over the past decade.
  • Baccalaureate degree production has seen significant growth over the decade, up 23 percent at the public universities and 21 percent at Kentucky’s independent colleges and universities.
  • While the number of master’s degrees conferred at the public universities has increased only slightly since 2006-07, doctoral degrees have increased 30 percent, which in part reflects an increased focus on advanced practice doctoral programs at the comprehensive universities.

The state’s strategic plan, “Stronger by Degrees,” focuses on economic development by seeking to raise educational attainment levels in Kentucky from 45 percent to 58 percent in 2025. Higher levels of educational attainment are critical to accelerate job creation, grow the economy, increase individual earnings, and expand the state’s tax base through a more highly skilled workforce.


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Liberal arts education was the topic of a presentation to legislators last week at the State Capitol. The Council on Postsecondary Education was pleased to coordinate the presentation to the Interim Joint Committee on Education’s Postsecondary Education Subcommittee.

The presenters, listed below, highlighted the value of a liberal arts degree in promoting general education:

The group of four, Tim Tracy, Jay Morgan, David Lee and Rhonda Tracy, presented to legislators.
The group of four, Tim Tracy, Jay Morgan, David Lee and Rhonda Tracy, presented to legislators.
  • Jay Morgan, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Council on Postsecondary Education;
  • David Lee, Provost, Western Kentucky University;
  • Rhonda Tracy, Chancellor, Kentucky Community and Technical College System; and
  • Tim Tracy, Provost, University of Kentucky.

“The presentation gave us an opportunity to highlight to members of the General Assembly the unique benefits of an education in the liberal arts and their role not only as stand-alone academic programs, but also in support of technical education, professional school programs, and research and development programs,” said Morgan.

The group also communicated ways in which the liberal arts and general education were of value in various growing segments of the economy extending out for the next 10 years.