– With one important caution
There is very good news from Kentucky’s public postsecondary education system – degree and certificate awards are generally up across the state.
The Courier-Journal reports “Kentucky’s public and independent postsecondary institutions conferred 30,178 degrees, diplomas and certificates during spring commencement exercises — a 7 percent increase compared with last year and a 40 percent increase since 2004, a preliminary report shows.”
The newspaper says both Masters and Doctoral awards rose 20 percent in one year, as well. In the same one-year period Bachelors degree awards increased six percent and Associate degree awards went up 15 percent.
So, overall, the news looks very good.
However, the paper does not discuss some bad news buried in an attachment to the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education’s (CPE) news release. That attachment lists a school by school breakdown of the awards.
One school, Kentucky State University, stands out sharply as going against the trend of improvement. The five-year change in all degree awards, Associate, Baccalaureate and Masters/Specialist, are down. The difference from the general trend is quite pronounced, and this certainly warrants discussion as to why this has happened.
But, overall, things are looking somewhat better for the state’s public postsecondary system. I’d like to see further breakdowns of the degree awards by race, sex, degree types, and whether the increase is mostly due to more Kentucky kids or out of state kids succeeding in their studies. That might be available when the CPE releases their full report later this year.