Council on Postsecondary Education
Campuses to former students: ‘We want you back’

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, September 16, 2015  
Contact Information:  Sue Patrick
Cell: 502-330-6596

(Note to editors: A 30-second video of Project Graduate is available here:

Project Graduate Week set Sept. 28-Oct. 2

Kentucky needs more returning adult students like Barbara Calhoun of Raceland. Inspired to return to college to earn her degree after seeing her son graduate from the University of Kentucky, Calhoun realized that she owed it to herself and her family to finish what she started all those years ago.

Since graduating from Morehead State University in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in university studies, Calhoun says she has more confidence, and she has received two salary increases in her current position.

Now her sights are set on earning a master’s degree in chemical dependency so she can help families overcome drug addiction.

Kentucky’s public colleges and universities, in conjunction with the Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE), will sponsor a statewide Project Graduate Week to help former students with a significant number of credits return to college to finish their degrees. The week is set Sept. 28-Oct. 2.

CPE’s Executive Vice President Aaron Thompson credits much of the success of the nationally award-winning program to the highly trained advisors on each campus who specialize with working with adults.

“Project Graduate advisors take the guesswork out of transitioning to college by offering proactive advising and support services tailored to the needs of busy, working adults,” he said.

Four-year campuses will waive application fees for the spring 2016 term for returning students. The colleges of Kentucky Community and Technical College System do not charge application fees. While services and incentives vary by campus, they include academic and career advising, priority admission and credit for prior learning.

“My favorite aspect of Project Graduate is getting to see the smiles on the faces of the individuals I help,” said Lisa P. Cox, Eastern Kentucky University’s director of student outreach and transition.

“Some people are very anxious when they first inquire about completing a degree and some think that it is out of reach for them. It is so rewarding to help someone develop a plan and see it through,” she added.

University of Kentucky’s Mike Shanks, director of the transfer center, added, “Project Graduate is a great initiative for students who want to complete their dream of finishing their undergraduate degree. I enjoy knowing that I have helped in some small way in making this possible for them at UK.”

To qualify for Project Graduate, students must have 80 or more credit hours toward a bachelor’s degree or 30 or more toward an associate degree.

More than 1,850 former students have earned degrees through Project Graduate since the 2008 launch and another 1,000 are in the pipeline.

The recipient of the 2012 Noel-Levitz Retention Award for Excellence, Project Graduate is a key strategy in the state’s college completion agenda.

View contact information for advisors, support services and incentives by campus by visiting


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