A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Letter to the Editor: Celebrate our collective progress in postsecondary education, despite budget cuts

In Northern Kentucky and across the state, our public colleges and universities are building momentum on key goals, demonstrating a shared commitment to help more students stay in college and graduate.

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It’s an impressive feat considering that the public campuses have been cut nearly $223 million in state General Fund appropriations since the recession.

As members of the Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE), we believe that campuses have stepped up with greater accountability and determination to meet state goals. A recent progress report produced by the CPE staff shows significant one-year gains.

— Undergraduate degrees and certificates increased 2.6% at both the public universities and the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) during a period of enrollment declines.

— The six-year graduation rate at the public universities rose more than 3 percentage points, while the graduation rate at KCTCS rose nearly 4 percentage points.

— For the first time, increases in graduation rates for low-income and minority students were greater than increases in the overall rate. While achievement gaps still exist, they are beginning to narrow.

Brandstetter, Halbauer, Nelson

Further, our state is on track to meet a big goal: to raise educational attainment to 60 percent of Kentuckians with a college degree or certificate by 2030. A more highly educated workforce will drive regional and state economies and build stronger and healthier communities.

Before we move forward with the new academic year, we wanted to hit the pause button to celebrate this collective progress, especially during a period of budget constraints. We extend our congratulations to campus leadership, faculty and staff, and our many partners for making these remarkable achievements a reality for Kentucky students.

Benjamin Brandstetter
Kimberly Halbauer
Kristi P. Nelson

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