College graduation up in Kentucky, but low-income, minority students struggling

Lauren Williams's picture

Kentucky's college students are graduating in greater numbers than ever before, but a statewide report card on higher education shows troubling gaps for low-income and minority students.

"We're producing more graduates, but these numbers that are embedded in here are difficult," said Bob King, president of the Council on Postsecondary Education, which produced the Stronger By Degrees report using data from the 2011-2012 school year.

The scorecard includes 27 measurements, ranging from the college readiness of students to research funding. For 2011-2012, the state met or exceeded its goals for 2014 in four areas, was on track to meet those goals in another four areas, made some progress in nine areas, held steady in two, and lost ground in eight.

For example, the state's public colleges and universities awarded 61,859 degrees and credentials that year, exceeding the 2014 goal of 59,400. Graduate degrees also exceeded the 2014 target of 10,250 by about 100. And 12,492 students transferred from the Kentucky Community and Technical College System to four-year schools, considerably beyond the 2014 goal of 9,580.

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