Council on Postsecondary Education
Kentucky’s postsecondary system to launch 5-year plan
(FRANKFORT, Ky.)— Kentucky’s postsecondary education leaders will launch a five-year strategic plan Sept. 18-19 at the Governor’s Conference on Postsecondary Education Trusteeship at the Louisville Marriott Downtown.
For the first time, this conference will occur in conjunction with the Kentucky Adult Education conference. Governor Ernie Fletcher will address the nearly 900 conference attendees at a noon luncheon on Monday.
The new public agenda, Five Questions - One Mission: Better Lives for Kentucky’s People, culminates a year-and-half-long study conducted by the Council on Postsecondary Education. The study included analysis of economic, demographic and educational data, and extensive conversations with stakeholders, partners and members of the postsecondary community. Nine regional forums throughout the state and an online forum engaged citizens in discussions regarding the role of postsecondary education in addressing the challenges facing their communities.
Dr. Tom Layzell, president of the Council, said, “This plan marshals the resources of the entire system to increase educational attainment and income levels to the national average by 2020 as outlined in the Postsecondary Education Improvement Act of 1997.” The Council is required to review the public agenda every four years, he said.
The systemwide plan will guide the work of the adult and postsecondary education system through 2010. Among the plan’s highlights include an increased emphasis on accountability, degree completion and affordability. It also includes action plans, mission parameters and key indicators of accountability for each public university, the Kentucky Community and Technical College System and the independent sector.
The plan’s framework is built around the five questions of reform:
- Are more Kentuckians ready for postsecondary education?
- Is Kentucky postsecondary education affordable for its citizens?
- Do more Kentuckians have certificates and degrees?
- Are college graduates prepared for life and work in Kentucky?
- Are Kentucky’s people, communities, and economy benefiting?
These five questions also serve as the framework for accountability indicators to gauge the system’s progress.
Kentucky’s first strategic plan is a national model for postsecondary education reform. Adult education enrollment increased 135 percent in the past four years, and Kentucky had the highest increase in the nation in the percent of adults with a high school credential from 1990 – 2000. Since 1998, total enrollment in postsecondary education has increased 25 percent. At the state’s public universities, the systemwide six-year graduation rate rose from 36.7 percent in 1998 to 44.3 percent in 2004.
Kentucky's postsecondary education system includes eight public universities, the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, numerous independent institutions and Kentucky Adult Education. The system represents 231,612 students, 538,866 Kentucky alumni and 294,896 GED recipients. When Kentuckians earn postsecondary degrees, their skills improve and their wages go up; they are more likely to lead healthy lives and be engaged in their communities; and they build better futures for themselves and their families.